Political parties have learnt the hard way, that it is better to embrace the social media than ignore it as a youthful recreation. And with a little over a year left for the next general elections, the Congress has sprung into action.
In a first, it has asked AICC members to submit details of their ‘social media life’ as part of their latest bio-data.
The letter from party treasurer Motilal Vora urges members to give details of their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, in addition to family particulars, address and contact numbers, to update the party database.
In fact, at the party’s brainstorming session in Jaipur beginning January 18, Congress will discuss and set the ground for a social media policy of the government, expected to be formulated by the information and broadcasting ministry later.
Twitter-friendly Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad said, “The party never discourages its members from using these social media platforms responsibly. But it must keep a watch on how they are using it. After all, we represent the party and any awkward comment can land it in trouble.”
Another senior party functionary said since the party's natural constituency — the youth — were the most active users of social media, the party could not afford to neglect it.
Anil Shastri, who heads the party's Hindi department and is also active on Twitter, said, “When we are talking of better connectivity with youth, the social media must be used more effectively.”
Some party functionaries are already active on Twitter. Shashi Tharoor enjoys more than 1.5 million followers, but lately has chosen to desist from political tweets after landing in many a controversy.
Digvijaya Singh, with a following of around 30,000, however remains irrepressible. In a controversial tweet to activist Arvind Kejriwal’s campaign, Singh had compared Kejriwal with Bollywood item girl Rakhi Sawant. “They both try and expose but with no substance,” Singh had tweeted.