Bhartiya Janata Party is planning to launch a multimedia messaging service similar to WhatsApp called Bhajapa Samvad Setu, reports PTI.
An undisclosed senior member of BJP’s state level information technology cell told PTI that the launch is likely to happen before the scheduled local body elections in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The service is apparently in the testing stage right now.
The service will allow users to exchange text messages, audio-video clips and images and seems focused on BJP workers. However, the BJP senior personnel told the service will have a lot of “informative messages” for citizens.
BJP & WhatsApp
It’s worth noting that BJP had experimented with WhatsApp during the Lok Sabha elections, earlier this year. It had interacted with both voters and the party cadre through its Mission 272+ (7820078200) WhatsApp number, as indicated by a The Economic Times report. However, the senior officer told PTI that people avoided looking at them due to large number of messages disseminated on WhatsApp. Although, we are not sure if that was the case or people just chose to avoid these messages on WhatsApp.
Coinciding with this, Deccan Chronicle also reports that BJP has started a WhatsApp group with all its 323 MPs, wherein the members will apparently receive important information from the party and it is apparently being administered by BJP Parliamentary office. We are not quite sure how BJP was able to manage this since WhatsApp currently has a limit of 50 participants per group.
Remember that BBC News had also utilised WhatsApp to cover the Indian elections, but the concept isn’t scalable, due to certain inherent disadvantages that WhatsApp as a medium poses, especially since it doesn’t provide any APIs.
Would users adopt it? That being the case, it’s possible that BJP has now considered setting up its own in-house multimedia messaging service. While this could work fine for internal use between BJP workers and volunteers, we are not quite sure why would regular users actually use this service over other players like WhatsApp, WeChat, Hike and LINE.
Other online initiatives by BJP
Few days back, the Indian government had launched a participative e-governance portal MyGov to encourage citizen participation in governance.
During the Union Budget earlier this month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had mentioned that all Central Government departments and ministries will integrate their services with the Ebiz platform on priority by 31 December this year. However, it’s worth noting that the number of services actually available online has reduced, and the portal doesn’t really work anymore.
Jaitley had also allocated Rs 100 crore to set up virtual classrooms and online courses for school education. The railway ministry had also proposed an initiative to provide education to the children of Railway staff at remote locations through Railtel’s optical fibre cable network.
BJP had also launched an internet TV channel called Yuva TV back in February 2012 and an Android app in January 2012. It had introduced an option for supporters of the party to make online donations on its website way back in 2011.
(With inputs from Vikas SN)