‘Inactive’ BJP not digitally smart despite PM Modi’s social media push

  • Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 08, 2016 09:28 IST
Repeated exhortations by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use social media to showcase the government’s achievements have not had much impact on them. (Picture courtesy: Twitter screengrab)

Repeated exhortations by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his ministers and party parliamentarians to use social media to showcase the government’s achievements have not had much impact on them.

A majority of the 282 BJP MPs in the Lok Sabha fall short of expectations in an assessment of their performance on Twitter and Facebook by the Prime Minister’s Office. About half of them are absent from Twitter, while most of those who are present are either “inactive” or are not making “fair usage”.

In a recent letter to all party MPs, the PMO has shared its assessment about their social media profile on the basis of the number of followers, activity (tweets and posts), and the “Likes” they get. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is right on top and has an “ideal activity profile”.

Union minister Uma Bharti has over 50,000 followers on Twitter and about 25,000 on Facebook, but the PMO judged her as “inactive” in the absence of any tweets and posts. Mathura MP Hema Malini is active on Twitter with about 7.50 lakh followers and “45-50 tweets” a month; the PMO’s assessment of her twitter is “fair usage” but “she could have posts on government achievements”.

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Modi has been a strong advocate of social media as a tool of communication and effectively used them in 2014 general election and in the PM’s office. “The current assessment is just an exercise to highlight the seriousness behind PM’s suggestion,” a minister told HT.

At a recent meeting of the council of ministers last month, Modi had stressed that they needed to get more active on social media and popularize the government’s works. He had told them that they should have lakhs of followers. Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh had held a meeting with officials on the use of social media the very next day after the Cabinet meeting. Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan is learnt to have set up a team to monitor it and provide accurate data and information concerning his ministry.

Some of their colleagues had left their party and government red-faced on Good Friday. While culture minister Mahesh Sharma had wished “Happy Good Friday”, his party colleague Shahnawaz Hissain had extended “warm greetings” to Christians through tweets.

In its letter to the MPs, the PMO made 5 suggestions for an effective use of social media. Parliamentarians have been suggested to share positive media coverage about developments in their constituency in the morning, link e-paper clippings and interact with people on twitter and facebook. Another suggestion is to share testimonials, real stories and news about people benefitting from flagship schemes of the central government.

Driving MPs for “minimum effort, maximum impact”, the PMO wants parliamentarian to share media coverage, infographics on achievements and quotes of famous people about the government through Narendra Modi mobile App, Transforming India website or BJP’s twitter and facebook page. MPs have also been asked to share important speeches of the PM and ministers to make sure people know things directly.

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