Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has taken a leap from the grassroots to the cyber path by roping in Hotmail founder Sabeer Bhatia to enable the party to use the internet platform in its election campaign.
Global IT entrepreneur Bhatia will help the Trinamool cyber team, which includes two IIM students, to build an interactive interface for the party, apart from reaching out to the voters through the Net. The party’s leaders think the presence of an iconic figure like Bhatia will appeal to Gen Y voters.
Bhatia is helping the team to develop a portal through which people will be able to interact directly with Trinamool leaders using cell phones.
“People of West Bengal are working for a change and I have come here to share some of my ideas for better communication,” said Bhatia, after a meeting at Banerjee’s home on Sunday. Trinamool secretary-general Partho Chatterjee and party vice-president Derek O’ Brien were also present.
“Leaders can communicate with the people through the internet. The more an organisation becomes cyber-savvy, the more it can reach out to people,” said Bhatia, 42.
Chatterjee, who is also leader of the opposition in the West Bengal assembly, said: “We always try to be modern and have our own cyber team. Bhatia will help us with his experience and insights.”
Bhatia was a student of Caltech and Stanford University in the US before joining Apple. In 1996, he launched Hotmail, which became the most popular Net-based e-mail in the world and also made headlines when Microsoft bought it for $400 million in December 1997.
The team will spruce up the party’s cyber profile. Apart from developing the party website, allindiatrinamoolcongress.org, it will oversee the campaigns on the Net and SMS.