Congress appoints Rohan Gupta as social media head

Congress appoints Rohan Gupta as social media head

Photo: @rohanrgupta/Twitter

Replacing the high profile Divya Spandana, cine actor turned politician, Congress on Saturday appointed Rohan Gupta as the chairperson of its social media department.

"Congress President has appointed Rohan Gupta as the new chairperson of the social media department with immediate effect," an official communication from the party said.

The appointment has come in the midst of election campaigning for Haryana and Maharasthra. Gupta, a native from Gujarat had played a key role in Congress social media campaign in 2017 Gujarat assembly polls.

Heading the Gujarat IT cell of Congress then, he was also accused by BJP of breach of model code of conduct  for carrying out an exit poll and putting it on social media. Gupta had dismissed the allegations.

Divya Spandana (36) known as Ramya in the Kannada film industry, who has also appeared in some Tamil and Telugu films, was a Rahul Gandhi’s pick in Congress to lead its social media campaign.

A recipient of several awards at young age including  two Filmfare Awards South, and a Karnataka State Film Award, Ramya joined the Congress in 2012 and in a meteoric rise became a Lok Sabha MP from Mandya in a bye-election in 2013, a seat which she lost in 2014 Lok Sabha polls to C S Puttaraju of JDS.

Spandana had, some months back, got into a controversy after a former employee of social media cell of Congress, who resigned in 2018, accused the former to be arrogant and not having taken any action on her complaint against a colleague of sexually harassing her.

Spandana had called the allegations on her in the false and without any basis.

Spandana, an avid Twiterrati, who had given a sharp to Congress presence on social media quit the social micro logging in June this year days after putting a congratulatory message to Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on her taking over as Defence Minister, second woman to don the post after late Indira Gandhi.

 After deleting her Twitter account, she was incommunicado for some time. A day before she deleted her account, there was no mention of her heading the Congress media team in her account bio. She has been incommunicado since then, raising speculations about her future course. There has been lot of internal rivalry in the Congress communication team as well.

In October last year also, there was a buzz about her quitting Congress which she had denied. She had earlier been forthright in saying that Congress social media team does not have as much access to resources as the BJP’s has.

Spandana was made the head of Congress Social Media in May 2017 replacing former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda’s son Deepender Hooda, who handled the Congress social media for five years before her. Whe, she took over the new role, she already had close to five lakh followers on Twitter. 

While Spandana is credited for bringing aggression in social media campaign of Congress, her detractors also found some of her posts quite offensive like “Is that bird drooping” with a tweet of a picture of Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi next to the statue of Unity and another tweet of a photoshopped image of Modi with a wax statue of himself pasted Chor on its forehead. Both the tweets brought her sedition cases.

As the high profile Spandana leaves the team, Gupta, who replaces her earlier a coordinator in the media department of the party, has a tough task cut out for him, to give a tottering Congress some badly needed traction on social media.