Time to learn from Oppn, UPA aims to get tech-savvy

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New Delhi, Feb 26: The information and broadcasting ministry has decided to move the Cabinet to set up a social media wing under it to boost the government's online presence. Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari, a relatively young face in the party, has been pushing the project and he has brought together some young techies for the purpose.

The ministry has set up a Facebook page, an official blog and also a Twitter handle. The Facebook page had over 1,20,000 views within months while 1,500 users are said to be visiting the official blog daily. The FB page of the government is: www.facebook.com/UPA.Government while its twitter handle is @UPAGovt.

Unlike the Opposition BJP, which is known to be a party of tech-savvy leaders, the Congress is known to be a party of more traditionalists. Its top leaders are hardly seen interacting with the people through formal or informal means and the latest step to set up a social media wing suggests that the senior ally in the ruling alliance at the Centre is looking to reverse the trend.

The government has not leveraged the potential of social media, a major driving force in today's public life. Nearly 100 million Indians, more than the entire population of Germany, use the Internet. Of this, 40 million have broadband and are most active on the social media.

BJP leader like Narendra Modi is known for his tech-savvy Blitzkrieg campaigning before polls and the Congress was found rattled to come up with a response to that. The latter, although criticised Modi for his hi-fi campaigning ahead of the last assembly polls, but acknowledged in its inner circles later that it did not have any answer to Modi's grand plans and hence fell flat in the polls.

The party's vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, recently told during his moment of elevation in the ranks that it is necessary to connect to the youths and if the Congress is indeed interested to connect to the youths, it has to utilise modern means of communication. The BJP has a huge following on the Internet (the followers popularly known as Internet Hindus) and it is time the Congress also thought on similar lines.

The government is planning to break important news simultaneously on these sites and aims to connect to a growing section of disenchanted urban youth ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year.

The Congress is also banking on history to make the government blog more attractive. Users can hear great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru speak here and also can download old film posters or rare documents, some of them taken from the archives of All India Radio and Doordarshan.

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