Purpose – The purpose of this exploratory study is to look at how the Internet was used by political parties and candidates during the Indian parliamentary elections of 2009. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 31 web sites belonging to political parties and their candidates in the Indian states of Maharashtra and Gujarat were examined for how they were used to mobilize volunteers and voters. An online questionnaire and in‐depth interviews were administered to the web site coordinators/designers and politicians. Findings – The study found that sites were not used to their maximum potential but instead, merely for publicity, online presence, and to explore the new medium. There was greater reliance by most candidates on traditional media such as rallies and face‐to‐face interaction. The reason may be due to the limited Internet penetration in India, which also means the Internet may have less influence on voters. Some candidates have shown the way to the potential use of the medium for fund raising and recruiting volunteers. But Indian politicians will likely continue to be cautious in using the Internet. Research limitations/implications – This study was limited to the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat and did not consider the impact or the effectiveness of the Internet. Originality/value – This is the first such study of the use of web sites for electioneering in India. It also documents the development in the use of the new medium for campaigning in 2009 as compared with the elections of 2004.
Internet Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 2011
Keywords: E‐electioneering; Elections; Campaigning web sites; Election campaigning; Internet; Political parties; Electioneering; India
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