One of the national parties of India asks potential voters to message their voter-registration number. In return the party sends the information about the location of polling station. Apparently, this service is for benefit of voters. However, this allows the political party to prepare a huge database of potential supporters. They have also created a rating system giving each supporter a unique number which they call ‘mobilization number’. Then grading of this unique number is done on the basis of sign ups using that unique number. This is a unique way of creating a data base of supporters and motivating them to support the party.
2. WhatsApp, for better organization of campaign
When Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19bn it might not have thought about the impending Indian election as a major part of its audience. But WhatsApp is proving out to be an indispensable tool for management of election campaign. Political parties are making profound use of this app to reach the young voters personally by sending personalized messages to them regularly. In addition the party workers are using it to exchange information about campaign in their area, manage the rallies and talk to each other.
3. Missed calls, for political organizing
Indians love ‘missed’ calls. The concept of missed call is unique to India. The calls that are not answered are not charged. Many prepaid Indian mobile users, thus, call the number they want to and then disconnect after one or two rings. The person on other side comes to know that a particular person is trying to contact them and call back. Thus, the person having prepaid number does not have to pay. Political parties are making use of this unique Indian phenomenon of ‘missed’ call. They ask people to give a ‘missed’ call to their number for any information regarding the party candidate, voter list information etc. Then the party workers call back the voters who have given ‘missed’ call to provide the information. Thus the voters are provided information on phone without spending money.
4. Plain old SMS, for voter mobilization
In a country like India where most of the people still use very basic mobile phones, SMS is the best way to reach them. In fact one of the political parties was making people members of their party on the basis of SMS sent by people. On the day of polling, traditional text messages are still functioning as the most important tool in cajoling people to turn up to the polls.