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Web sites for e‐electioneering in Maharashtra and Gujarat, India

Rahul Gadekar (Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad, Shela, Ahmedabad, India)
Kiran Thakur (FLAME School of Communication, Lavale, Pune, India)
Peng Hwa Ang (Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 12 August 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Citation

Gadekar, R., Thakur, K. and Hwa Ang, P. (2011), "Web sites for e‐electioneering in Maharashtra and Gujarat, India", Internet Research, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 435-457. https://doi.org/10.1108/10662241111158317

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited