Facebook, Twitter trend big on election wall; WhatsApp lags

As politicians try to get more 'social' through various online networking platforms this poll season, Facebook likes are a rage, Twitter is trending in a big way, but WhatsApp still seems alien for most big leaders.

In a first major disclosure of their presence on various social media platforms, a large number of candidates in fray for Lok Sabha elections 2014 have listed their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts in their poll affidavits.

However, one of the most famous mobile internet messaging platforms, WhatsApp, finds a mention in the affidavits of only a few and these include Congress leader and former Union Minister Ajay Maken, fighting elections from New Delhi seat.

At the same time, there are also some leaders, including two young turks of ruling Congress party, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot, who have not disclosed any social media accounts, including the most popular Twitter and Facebook.

Various political parties and their leaders have been thronging social networking platforms to woo voters, while internet giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter are looking for their slice of an estimated Rs 500-crore digital spending pie for this Lok Sabha polls.

Leaders from Narendra Modi to Arvind Kejriwal have been asserting their presence on social media platforms in a big way, but a few others like Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are not there. Senior BJP leaders like LK Advani and Arun Jaitley have also been writing frequent blog posts.

While some of these leaders are yet to file their election affidavits, many of those having filed their nominations have disclosed their social media accounts.

An analysis of these affidavits shows that most of the candidates, cutting across parties and age groups, have presence on multiple social media platforms.

From the Congress stable, Law Minister Kapil Sibal seems to be leading the way when it comes to social media presence. Besides his own website, the renowned lawyer has accounts in Twitter, Facebook, GooglePlus, YouTube and Instagram.

Congress leader and former Union Minister Ajay Maken is among the candidates who have an account of WhatsApp -- the popular free mobile messaging platform -- besides presence on Facebook. His opponent and BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi has Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Another visible Congress face in social media is Shashi Tharoor, who is active in Twitter and also has a personal website.

Ghaziabad candidate Shazia Ilmi Malik from AAP, the new party whose members have been very active on social media, has Twitter, Facebook as well as YouTube accounts.

BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Modi and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal are among the high profile contestants who mostly express their views through social media, primarily Twitter. Both of them, pitted against each other in Varanasi, are yet to file their nomination papers.

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