LUCKNOW: It is hard to imagine an election campaign without social media now. But about 20 years ago, when internet was still in its nascent stages, , then PM and BJP candidate from Lucknow in 1999 elections, was the only candidate in UP to have a running interactive website.

The website VoteForAtal- was created to garner support from voters as Atal faced Dr of Congress in the election. And when the website was launched on July 27, 1999, the then party spokesperson and incumbent PM was also present in UP BJP office.

Entrepreneur Manish Khemka, who got the website created for Atal recalls that they wanted to get the website launched by Modi but he insisted on getting a ‘more popular’ face. “Just then we got to know about arrival of cinestar in Lucknow. We immediately ed him and he readily agreed,” said Khemka.

“The website designed for Atalji allowed us to upload his views, messages and latest photographs of his election campaign and it received handsome hits. At that time there was no social media. The website was an instant hit among voters and BJP supporters,” Khemka said.

A lease line internet connection was taken at the UP BJP office to support the website and another at the 4, Mall Avenue residence of then cabinet minister . “The website helped us to reach out to masses and get their grievances addressed,” recalled a senior BJP functionary.

Now BJP has a full-fledged IT cell that shares information of party activities and leaders on various social media platforms. The party recently roped in over 3,000 volunteers to spread party ideology through social media.
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