Jharkhand to have next-gen, tech-savvy MLAs

  • Saurav Roy, Hindustan Times, Ranchi
  • Updated: Dec 23, 2014 16:58 IST

Among the new faces in the Jharkhand assembly there will be quite a few tech-savvy legislators who devoted a lot of time to social media and maintained a regular contact with their voters while campaigning for the 2014 assembly elections.

They understood the power of social media and exploited it immensely to woo the voters this election, thus becoming a cut above others and getting more visible than their colleagues.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's (JMM) young and dynamic Baharagora candidate, Kunal Sarangi, 33, who updated his Facebook account at least thrice a day during campaigning, concluded his online election campaign on Monday by requesting his supporters to pray for his success.

"I request all of you to keep me in your prayers to help me get an opportunity to serve you as your representative in the Jharkhand state assembly," said Sarangi, who is an engineer by training.

Sarangi, who holds a masters' degree in global media and communications from London School of Economics as well as a program in leadership development from Harvard University, feels social media is a powerful tool to connect with people, particularly the younger generation.

"It's almost like meeting them or communicating with them in person," he said.

Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Hazaribagh winner, Manish Jaiswal carried two tabs to all his rallies and if one got discharged, he used the other to keep his online supporters updated.

Navin Jaiswal, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik's (JVM-P) 42 year-old winner from Hatia, started campaigning on Facebook even before the elections were announced.

While celebrating his victory, he told HT, "I will actively use the social media to know about the problems in my constituency. Suggestions and complaints are most welcome on my Facebook wall."

Modi-fied BJP's Dhanbad winner, Raj Sinha not only updated about his campaigns but also posted the problems in the state and their possible solutions regularly on Facebook. He ran a full-fledged campaign focussing on the rights of martyrs' widows in the state seeking better facilities for them.

The saffron party's 28 year-old Jharia winner, Sanjeev Singh did not lag behind. Like Jaiswal, even Singh strongly believes that the social media can help legislators understand the problems of their constituencies and work to solve them.

As per 2011 census, about 50 lakh households in the state, which has a population of 3.29 crore, have internet connections.

Possible CM face and BJP national vice-president Raghubar Das too feels the social media can be a strong tool of communication, especially with the common people.

At least 45 of the 81 members in the new assembly have active Facebook and Twitter accounts.

"It is time for tech-savvy leaders, who can connect with the youth through internet. This medium of campaigning gave these leaders an edge over their competitors, who campaigned in the traditional way," said political researcher Pankaj Prasun.

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