Cong finally wakes up to social media power

Congress top brass grapple with issues at hand ahead of 2014 LS poll

Realising that the party was going slow in the race to grab social media space, Congress leaders on Saturday pitched for the organisation to be pro-active in making proper use of enormous reach and impact of the new media.

Telecommunication Minister Kapil Sibal took the lead to demand a change in the outlook for the party with regards to the new age vehicle of communication, something that the BJP and its Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi have effectively exploited.

Speaking at the sub-group meeting on “emerging political challenges,” Sibal advocated an aggressive approach in the use of social media. Citing examples of the initial high response for the Anna Hazare movement against corruption or the demonstrations against the Delhi gang-rape, Sibal said the new media–powered by Internet–has the power to draw crowds within no time in bigger cities.

“The BJP is pro-active in this. This media is the vehicle that today’s youngsters use. With so many states going for elections this year and Lok Sabha elections slated for next year, the Congress should start effectively using this media. We have to be aggressive.
Effective use of this media will ensure that damage is less,” Sibal was understood to have told the group: “ We should lead a counter-attack,” he said.

Social media includes social networks, internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, micro-blogging, podcasts etc.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the Congress should understand that social media dominated by the youth, was mainly anti-establishment and hence the need for the party to use more and more of the new media.

“Youth antipathy is a matter of concern. We have to make concerted efforts…” Union Minister Selja said “social media is a big instrument of communication which we cannot neglect or ignore.”

Speaking at the group on politics, Union Minister S Jaipal Reddy advocated the need for Congress to play the OBC (other backward classes) card in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to win these two states it lost over two decades ago. Congress is a victim of social engineering.

UP and Bihar saw such churning and this resulted in Congress yielding its base to regional outfits in these two states. The Congress lost these two states to social engineering and caste-based polarisation.

“The party should take it seriously. It should play the OBC card and pro-quota card and should be pro-active. It should send out the message that it is in favour of OBC, oppressed and depressed sections,” he said.

The minister said he understood Congress never played sectarian politics.

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