Catch them young is going to be the strategy of political parties in the forthcoming elections in 2014. The reason? The youth, who form about 20 percent of the total electorate, have the potential to swing the results. And the best way to reach out to them is social media. The BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who already claims to have a huge fan following among the youth and is present on Twitter and Facebook, has already started sharpening his Twitter tactics. According to a report in The Economic Times, Modi sent tweet messages to celebrities yesterday urging them to "encourage voter registration among 18-24 yr olds." "Large number of them unregistered," he said. The BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who already claims to have a huge fan following among the youth and is present on Twitter and Facebook, has already started sharpening his Twitter tactics. AFP The ET report says the Modi's latest move is aimed at wooing the urban youth who purportedly have presence in the social media. It also says a higher turnout of voters from this segment will help the BJP more than the Congress. But is that the only idea behind the initiative? Definitely not. It is also part of Modi's efforts to remake himself so as to fit in the national narrative. Though Modi started such efforts at least a year back, they seem to be gaining momentum significantly after the BJP officially announced his candidature for the prime ministership. Among the celebrities to whom he send this social message are Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Kiran Bedi, Preity zinta, Shashi Tharoor, Akshay Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar, Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Anupam Kher Amitabh Bachchan, Dalai Lama and, hold your breath, Manmohan Singh. Though heavy on Bollywood, it still is a wide range, from Dalai Lama to Sri Sri Ravishankar. The aim seems to be to show that Modi has grown out of Gujarat. He is taking stand in pan-India issues, especially those concerning youth. The inclusion of the PMO and Shashi Tharoor is to give an impression that it is a "non-partisan" initiative. To realise his prime ministerial ambitions, what Modi needs now is a non-partisan, pan-India, inclusive image. Joining Modi's efforts, the BJP on Modi's birthday started a membership drive to woo Muslims to its fold. According to a PTI report, Modi has opened Twitter accounts in languages other an English such as Hindi, Urdu, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, Oria, Tamil and Bangla. "We are reaching out to people in regional languages as well now. Urdu language has large following in Uttar Pradesh," a member of BJP's communication cell was quoted as saying. As a report in the Financial Time notes, "Modi … is already tailoring his message to the needs of a national electorate and seeking to emulate his BJP predecessor Atal Behari Vajpayee." Who knows Modi may even wear a skull cap in the near future.
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