HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Leaders use FB, SMS but have no time to tweet

Nihi Sharma Sahani  Dehradun, April 09, 2014
First Published: 23:28 IST(9/4/2014) | Last Updated: 23:31 IST(9/4/2014)

The Lok Sabha aspirants in Uttarakhand are finally reaching out to voters through the virtual world. From rallies to public appearances, the candidates are posting every public activity on social networking website Facebook, which is a hit among them. However, they remain elusive from Twitter.

Certain candidates are not only using the traditional method of sending text messages, but also internet-based messaging service WhatsApp to seek the support of voters. The strong IT cells in the BJP and the Congress too are making optimum use of various applications offered by smartphones.

Mala Rajyalakshmi Shah, the BJP candidate from Tehri parliamentary constituency, has a brigade of more than 500 friends on her profile on Facebook. She has posted pictures of her April 8 rally with MLA of Mussoorie Ganesh Joshi. There are even some clippings of her public address on her profile wall. This apart, she has also posted pictures of her visit to the Kalika Mandir Bhawan.

Like Shah, Tehri LS candidate Anoop Nautiyal from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too is quite active on Facebook. Pictures of his rallies, public connect moments and campaigning with Bollywood actor Archana Puran Singh, are flooded on the social networking website. Not only that, his profile also features some key stories about his party as well as Arvind Kejriwal, the former Delhi chief minister.

“I like communication, and unlike other candidates, my communication is not electoral. Besides, I also believe in transparency. Through my profile, I remain in contact with people. It’s a platform where I express my transparency, dedication towards my people and of course my dream to bring development in the region,” Nautiyal told HT.

Communist Party of India (CPI-ML) Pauri constituency candidate Indresh Maikhuri is an active FB user. Through his profile, he has appealed to voters to cast their vote in his favour. Besides, he has also posted his manifesto on his profile wall asking to change government and give him a chance to work for the development of his region.

Ajay Tamta, the BJP candidate from Almora seat, isn’t active on Facebook. BJP candidates for Haridwar and Nainital, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and Bhagat Singh Koshyari, too do not post regularly. Harak Singh Rawat, the Congress candidate from Pauri, is also not active on social networking websites. Apparently, their profiles are ‘tagged’ by other Facebook users. However, these candidates have not delivered any fresh posts on the website.

Notably, candidates like Major General (retd) BC Khanduri, the BJP candidate from Pauri seat, KC Singh Baba, the Congress candidate from Nainital, and Saket Bahuguna do not have their Facebook profiles either. There are fan clubs of Khanduri and Baba, but Bahuguna does not even have a fan page on the much popular website.

Candidates aren’t savvy of another IT revolution, Twitter. Nautiyal has 970 followers on Twitter followed by Bhagat Singh Koshyari with 908 followers. Rawat has only 34 followers and Shah has only three followers. “It’s important to be active on social networking websites. Off late, I couldn’t dedicate time to my profiles, but now I will become active in order to connect with voters,” Rawat said.

Surprisingly, Bahuguna is once again missing from Twitter too, along with Baba and Ajay Tamta.

Kunwar Japinder Singh, the Tehri LS candidate from Rashtriya Lok Dal, is seeking support through text messages. Raising the issue of caste certificate and domicile, Singh is sending text messages in Hindi so that even a common man can understand.

In addition, IT cells of both the Congress and the BJP are extremely strong. Working on various applications offered by smartphones, the parties are not leaving any stone unturned to connect with voters.

“The IT cells are made to strengthen public connect. Through SMS, WhatsApp and other applications, we are seeking support of voters. Our Facebook official page has helped us connect with more than 4,000 users,” Prakash Suman Dhyani, the state spokesperson BJP shared.

Similarly, Congress too has worked extremely hard on its IT cell. “Through social media, we publicise policies and agendas of the Congress party. It’s not only done in Uttarakhand, but also across the country. We also send messages on Whatsapp and WeChat,” Congress spokesperson Surender Kumar said.

more from Dehradun

‘Central aid to state rose in past 3 yrs, but growth slow’

The annual assistance from the Centre to the state has increased in last few financial years, according to official statistics, even though the Uttarakhand government has been firing salvos at the central government over it.
Two days ago, the state Congress unit demanded `4,000 crore financial assistance from the centre.
According to the central statistics office figures, the Centre released `4883.74 crores for the state in 2011-12. It released `4717.68 crores in 2012-2013. And in 2013-2014, it increased the assistance to `5418.60 crores.

Uttarakhand is one of the 11 Himalayan states which enjoy special category status besides Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
These special category states have to make part payment to the centre in lieu of getting funds for centrally-sponsored schemes.
Interestingly, on an average, central assistance has been substantial for the state though it has not helped Uttarakhand in increasing its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) which is total monetary value of goods and services produced by a state economy in a given year.
“GSDP depends on various factors like rate of savings and investments and overall business atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean the state does not need help,” said Surender Kumar, media in-charge for CM adding that the state needs more funds.
The figures for Uttarakhand GSDP growth at constant (2004-5) price (as on 01-08-2014) was 9.36% in 2011-12. It was 5.61% in 2012-13 and 5.65% in 2013-2014.
Sometime back Planning Commission constituted a committee to study development in hill states arising from management of forest land with special focus on creation of infrastructure, livelihood and human development.
The report of the committee was discussed in Internal Planning Committee meeting held in February this year.
A Planning Commission note claimed that IPC broadly endorsed the recommendations of the committee. The report has also been forwarded to states for further inputs.

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