Trinamool Congress leader Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar at a press conference at Trinamool Bhavan in Kolkata on Tuesday. The TMC has been holding special press conferences every day for the past two weeks.(PTI)
Trinamool Congress leader Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar at a press conference at Trinamool Bhavan in Kolkata on Tuesday. The TMC has been holding special press conferences every day for the past two weeks.(PTI)

In battleground Bengal, data becomes key weapon for BJP, TMC

The TMC and the BJP in their social media campaigns are dishing out statistics, videos and photographs to counter each other’s claims on sector-wise development and social welfare measures.
By Tanmay Chatterjee | Hindustan Times, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON DEC 01, 2020 09:33 PM IST

The campaign for next year’s assembly election in West Bengal is witnessing for the first time a more focused battle in which data is the principal weapon as the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP spar on social media.

In their extensive social media campaigns, the parties are dishing out statistics, videos and photographs to counter each other’s claims on sector-wise development and social welfare measures. In the past, only the Communist Party of India (Marxist) focused on statistics in poll campaigns but social media was in its infancy when the party was in power.

“The data war intensified about two weeks ago when Amit Malviya, head of the BJP’s national information and technology (IT) cell, was given additional charge of Bengal by Union home minister Amit Shah and party president J P Nadda,” said a senior state BJP leader who did not want to be named.

“IT cell members compiling data and experts in the multimedia teams have their hands full. Current and old recordings of speeches of chief minister Mamata Banerjee and senior TMC leaders are being played back and forth so that short clips can be made out of selected portions and used with data in social media posts. These have an impact on people,” the leader added.

The TMC, on the other hand, is focusing on statistics not only on social media but at special press conferences being held every afternoon for the last two weeks.

“Unlike Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we are open to questions. A senior MP or minister focuses on a specific area and speaks for 20 minutes. This is followed by a 15-20 minute interactive session with journalists. We will do this till Mamata Banerjee completes her third term in office,” Derek O’Brien, TMC Rajya Sabha member and national spokesperson told HT.

O’Brien is also leading the TMC’s data war on social media.

“Mitron, Modi-Shah and their tourist gang are photo-op know-alls in Bengal. But data shows how BJP’s governance is anti-Dalit. 2019 saw 62% increase in deaths due to manual scavenging (Swachh Bharat?!) States with highest deaths 2019: UP: 21, Maharashtra: 17, Gujarat: 16.” O’Brien tweeted on Tuesday. The Dalit vote bank, incidentally, is crucial for the BJP in Bengal.

On November 27, Abhishek Banerjee, Lok Sabha member and Mamata Banerjee’s nephew targeted the Prime Minister with a tweet comparing the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme with the state’s Swasthya Sathi programme. He posted a chart showing that while the entire cost of treatment is borne by the Bengal government the Centre bears only 60 % under Ayushman Bharat.

“It is indeed high time that @narendramodi ji starts taking governance lessons from @MamataOfficial!...” tweeted the young TMC leader.

The BJP quickly posted a counter tweet, referring to him as bhaipo (nephew in Bengali) and the chief minister as pishi (aunt in Bengali).

“Will Bhaipo explain to people of Bengal why he and Pishi opt to get treated at a multispeciality hospital that has refused to come under Swasthya Sathi? Or is it that Bengal’s poor don’t deserve to get treated at Kolkata’s top hospitals under Pishi’s scheme?” the BJP tweeted.

Incidentally, Malviya refers to Mamata Banerjee as pishi in almost all his tweets even if they are not related to Abhishek Banerjee.

“Election campaign and media outreach programmes are intertwined. Social media posts are necessary for remaining in focus all the time. It is not that these will increase vote share but some posts get tremendous response. Malviya’s tweet on Tuesday on Bengal’s debt burden is a good example. I got calls from two media houses,” said BJP state vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar.

O’Brien, however, did not want to link the posts to the polls.

“We are not into this campaign for the elections or counter the BJP’s fake posts. Our intention is to focus on the positive aspects of governance. The BJP leaders camping in Bengal are tourists. They will enjoy local vegetarian food for five months and leave. We will win the elections,” said O’Brien.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
app
Close
An alumni of BHU, the BSP leader is known for his deep insight into UP politics and JD-U is all set to enter into the political arena in UP in the next assembly elections. (HT FILE PHOTO) (Image used for representation).
An alumni of BHU, the BSP leader is known for his deep insight into UP politics and JD-U is all set to enter into the political arena in UP in the next assembly elections. (HT FILE PHOTO) (Image used for representation).

Sole BSP MLA Md Jama Khan set to join JD(U) in Bihar

PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 01:56 AM IST
  • Khan won from the Chainpur Assembly seat on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket in the 2020 assembly elections and is all set to join JD-U soon.
Close
The vaccination target for Friday was 3,703 healthcare workers of which 2,308 were vaccinated in 35 sessions. (FILE PHOTO).(AP)
The vaccination target for Friday was 3,703 healthcare workers of which 2,308 were vaccinated in 35 sessions. (FILE PHOTO).(AP)

Uttarakhand reports 62% vaccination, more than 10,000 health workers inoculated

PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 01:43 AM IST
  • Since January 16, a total of 10,514 healthcare workers have been vaccinated in Uttarakhand in 171 sessions.
Close
The government has offered 4.38 hectares of land to saints near Ganga.(Photo@tsrawatbjp)
The government has offered 4.38 hectares of land to saints near Ganga.(Photo@tsrawatbjp)

Uttarakhand accepts saints’ request for burial land to check jal samadhi

PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:55 AM IST
The decision was taken by the state government during the cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat at the CM house.
Close
AASU, which spearheaded the anti-CAA protests in the state in December 2019 and also last month, launched a 3-day protest against the legislation beginning Friday. (PTI PHOTO) (Image used for representation).
AASU, which spearheaded the anti-CAA protests in the state in December 2019 and also last month, launched a 3-day protest against the legislation beginning Friday. (PTI PHOTO) (Image used for representation).

Ahead of PM Modi’s Assam visit, AASU takes out torch rallies against CAA

PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:48 AM IST
  • The PM is scheduled to address a public rally at Jerenga Pathar in Sivasagar district on Saturday and distribute land allotment certificates to over 1,06,000 landless people.
Close
Maharashtra government appealed to the Supreme Court against the high court’s decision and filed a caveat in the apex court seeking exclusion of the 18 villages from KDMC. (HT PHOTO)
Maharashtra government appealed to the Supreme Court against the high court’s decision and filed a caveat in the apex court seeking exclusion of the 18 villages from KDMC. (HT PHOTO)

Short of attendance while pregnant, DU law student gets relief from top court

By Abraham Thomas
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:30 AM IST
  • The petitioner, had joined the 3-year law course at Law Centre-II of the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in August 2016. She was a married woman who attended the evening law course and successfully cleared three semesters. In the fourth semester, she became pregnant and could not attend classes.
Close
Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat inaugurating the state's first child-friendly police station in Dehradun on Friday. (Paras Negi/HT PHOTO).
Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat inaugurating the state's first child-friendly police station in Dehradun on Friday. (Paras Negi/HT PHOTO).

Uttarakhand CM announces 1 crore fund for welfare of orphans, street kids

PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:01 AM IST
  • The child-friendly police station has been developed under an initiative by the state commission for protection of child rights and police to provide a friendly environment to the children on the streets to prevent them from stepping into the world of crime.
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Covaxin well-tolerated: Phase 1 peer-review

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:42 PM IST
New Delhi Bharat Biotech Covaxin was well tolerated with no vaccine-related serious adverse events in a small group of volunteers, according to a peer review of the company’s phase 1 clinical trials published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases on Friday
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Cong wants JPC to probe ‘security breach’

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:41 PM IST
New Delhi: The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest executive body, on Friday stepped up its attack on the chat transcripts between journalist Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, demanding a joint parliamentary committee probe into what it called a breach of national security
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Local Body elections: Andhra govt, state poll panel at loggerheads

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:39 PM IST
Hyderabad : The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government of Andhra Pradesh and state election commissioner (SEC) Ramesh Kumar on Friday headed for a showdown over the conduct of elections to village councils in the state in February
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Follow my father’s ideology... he’d never, ever give up on idea of India: Mehbooba Mufti

UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:39 PM IST
Mehbooba Mufti, 61, was the last chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir before the momentous events of August 5, 2019, when the Centre scrapped the special status and converted the state into two Union territories
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Elephant dies of burn injuries; two arrested

By Divya Chandrababu
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:38 PM IST
Chennai: A horrific video emerged on Friday of two men throwing a flaming cloth onto an elephant in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district and the animal trumpeting and running away in pain
Close
HT Image
HT Image

PM talks to health workers to dispel fears over vaccines

By HT Correspondent, Varanasi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:36 PM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday sought to set at rest fears and misconceptions over the efficacy and safety of Covid-19 vaccines, and sought to dispel the “vaccine hesitancy” that has kept the turnouts low at inoculation centres
Close
HT Image
HT Image

BSY reshuffles cabinet to contain dissent

By Sharan Poovanna
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:35 PM IST
Bengaluru Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday caved into demands of dissenting ministers and made changes to his cabinet by redistributing portfolios to calm tempers, barely a day after rebellion broke out within his government
Close
HT Image
HT Image

CBI books Cambridge Analytica over Facebook data theft

By Neeraj Chauhan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:35 PM IST
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against Alexander Nix of British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica (CA) and Aleksandr Kogan of Global Science Research Limited, UK, for allegedly harvesting personal data of up to 562,000 Indians from Facebook for commercial purposes, officials said on Friday
Close
Bharatiya Janata Party national president JP Nadda is on a two-day visit to Uttar Pradesh. UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and state unit chief Swatantra Dev Singh received him in Lucknow on Thursday. (Deepak Gupta/HT PHOTO).
Bharatiya Janata Party national president JP Nadda is on a two-day visit to Uttar Pradesh. UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and state unit chief Swatantra Dev Singh received him in Lucknow on Thursday. (Deepak Gupta/HT PHOTO).

Be factually correct, focus on quality: Nadda to BJP's social media cell in UP

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:33 PM IST
  • The BJP chief directed the volunteers to keep reminding people of the good work done by the state and central governments on social media since public memory was known to be short.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP