Congress readies social media army to counter tech savvy BJP in online battle

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To take on BJP's "fake posts" and to boost its online presence ahead of key elections, the Congress is preparing an online army. A new team, right from the top, is replacing the party's social media wing to engage a strong social media campaign ahead of assembly elections in key states. But is the revamp only to counter the BJP or is it the result of an intraparty tussle?

The Congress party is looking for social media specialists to enhance its presence online. In a bid to counter the tech-savvy BJP, the grand old party is hiring professionals. Party leaders maintain that a new team has taken over to improve the party's social media presence. Sources from the party, however, indicate that a need to made fresh recruitments arose after a host of IT cell members chose to leave after Ramya replaced Deepender Hooda as chief.

Congress readies social media army to counter tech savvy BJP in online battle

"We have redone the social media team and we have set up a whole different team which will be working full time. We see false posts being put up on social media and people tend to believe it. We need to counter that because the BJP effectively indulges in morphing images, falsifying facts, misrepresenting issues and portraying Congress in a bad light," said AICC spokesperson Dinesh Gundu Rao.

Taking the fight online

The BJP has always been tech savvy. BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself have been lauded for social media presence and management. The same has not been the case for the Congress. Realising the importance of social media as a game changer in electoral politics, the Congress chose Ramya as its IT chief owing to her online presence and command. While Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi made a late entry to Twitter, the party and its chief do not have handles, unlike the BJP that has a massive online presence.

While the battle lines are drawn in assembly elections, the Congress claims that it is now also ready for an online battle. "We want the truth and facts online. BJP is taking advantage of not having anyone to counter. We are now prepared to give it back to them and also ensure that the right message reaches the people and not fiction," Dinesh Gundu Rao added.

[Also read: West Bengal BJP IT cell secretary arrested for spreading fake news]

The BJP has come under severe fire after its IT cell chief from Asansol in West Bengal, Tarun Sengupta, was arrested for posting fake pictures about Bengal unrest. The Congress has alleged that the BJP only indulges in misrepresentations and deliberate sharing of fake or edited posts and pictures to support their narrative. Congress insiders, while happy that the party has taken notice of social media as a mass influencer, are also convinced that the revamp in IT cell has more to do with internal party affairs than taking on the BJP.

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