Hyderabad: The forthcoming assembly election in Telangana will test the efficiency of the Congress party’s election app called CHARMS. Short for Congress Human Resource Management System (CHARMS), the in-house app aims to achieve better manpower management and effective campaigning.

The app, developed by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) information technology (IT) cell chairman and technocrat Kalakunta Madan Mohan Rao, will help both state and central leaderships learn the app’s on-ground utility.

The party feeds its data into the app real-time to churn numbers and manage its workers right from the booth-level committees for better management and efficiency.

“It will also be used in other states where polls will be held this year. The CHARMS app, other than having a centralized location of database that is accessible for leaders and office bearers, can also track elections live. Other features include live GPS tracking of party vehicles," said Rao, who left the Telugu Desam Party and joined the Congress party in May this year.

Rao, who studied agriculture in Hyderabad, later pursued technology from the Auckland Institute of Technology. He currently runs the software company USM Business Systems, which has offices across six countries, including Hyderabad in India.

With CHARMS, the party can track human resource management, social media work and publicity campaigns. Congress leaders in Telangana are extensively using the app to track what is happening at the ground level, something the party learnt after the 2014 election, said a TPCC leader, who did not want to be identified.

Rao, who was part of the TDP’s IT cell earlier, said that it was big data analytics that helped Andhra Pradesh N. Chandrababu Naidu come to power in the 2014 elections. “All the surveys put YSR Congress Party chief Jagan Mohan Reddy ahead by about four to five percent. Naidu formed an alliance based on survey results and managed to win," he added.

Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy said that while it is good that the Congress is using technology, it needs to have the energy to take things to the logical end. “While 2014 was a social media election, 2019 will be an app-based election. My only reservation would be that no tech can replace humans," he opined.

Reddy added that technology can have a certain role but that Congress leaders cannot rely on it completely. “Also the BJP in 2014 also had a strong team that was analyzing whatever was happening on social media. It had a strong research team, which the Congress lacked," he stated.