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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Rahul for etiquette in social media debates

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 23, 2013
First Published: 02:39 IST(23/8/2013) | Last Updated: 03:06 IST(23/8/2013)

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi wants to apply brakes on its shrill social media wars and instead would like party managers to debate in a respectable manner.

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Addressing the Congress’ first workshop on social media for spokespersons, Gandhi’s guidelines were clear: party’s social media presence should reflect love and truth and the debates are to be based on reasons and bhaichaara (brotherhood).

Gandhi’s message assumes significance as during the past few months the Congress and the BJP have locked horns over  Gujarat chief minister  Narendra Modi, leading to sharp war of words.

While the BJP coined #Pappu in Twitter to take potshots at Rahul Gandhi, the Congress countered it with #Feku to nail Modi’s alleged false claims.

To drive home his point on mode of social media debate, Gandhi said that India exported Buddhism and never attacked any country for territorial gains.

Minutes after the workshop, union minister Shashi Tharoor, a fervent twitter user, tweeted: “Congress voices must stand for truth, reject abuse, conduct respectful debate.”

In the closed-door meeting attended mostly by young Congress workers, Gandhi tried to boost their morale and reportedly said that according to some people, if India is a computer then the Congress is its default system.

Meanwhile, the party has asked all its state unit chiefs to have open emails for faster communication and hold weekly press briefings in the states.

Special workshops on social media will also be held at cities with population of more than 1 million.

While many other leaders like Tharoor and Deepender Hooda spoke at the workshop, Gandhi added that while BJP wants people to fight to come to power, Congress works for change and progress.

To keep a better control on its TV faces, the party is also likely to decide which of its representatives should go to a particular channel.


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