But will the battle being fought on myriad social networking sites and other online platforms translate into votes? Do your 'likes' and 'shares' ensure that you would vote for a particular party?

Experts feel that although political campaigning on social media stands to benefit the parties in influencing their potential vote bank, its range and reach is restricted to a small audience.

"Social media is a legitimate tool of persuasion. It helps build a personal rapport, may be, more effective than door-to-door campaigning.

Though middle class urban voters may be influenced by online political campaigning, a sizeable number of people will cast their votes based on local issues, said Prof Deepak Kumar, chairperson of Centre for Media Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

"These online campaigns cannot reach the people in the rural belt of the country owing to the digital divide," Kumar said.

A study conducted by media think-tank, Centre for Media Studies (CMS), on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, speaks of the strong influence of social networking sites on young voters.

(Agencies)

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