When its comes to an online strategy or even an online presence, there's no denying that the Congress is woefully lagging behind the BJP. As part of its social media strategy, the Congress had launched its own social-network of sorts called Khidki, which allows users to log in with Youth Congress ids. Khidki even boasts of an Android and iPhone app.
But its clear that Khidki is no Facebook and Rahul Baba no Mark Zuckeberg but that doesn't mean one should stop trying. According to a Hindustan Times, report, Rahul Gandhi has asked for a special website for Congress' 2014 election manifesto. He also wants to revamp the Congress website.
The report says that, Gandhi initially wants an "e-platform" with suggestions from ordinary people. “The idea is to involve the voters in the manifesto making process. Instead of imposing our promises, we would like to see their wish-list first,” a senior party functionary," told the paper.
There's no doubt that Congress desperately needs a social media strategy. BJP's Facebook page (as of this morning) has around 1,526,401 F-likes. In contrast to that Congress' Facebook page has a measly 310,880 F-likes.
Add to that, the fact that Narendra Modi is one of the most active Indian politicians on Twitter and has a sizeable following on the site. On the other hand, neither Sonia Gandhi nor Rahul Gandhi are on Twitter and its not something that one should expect to happen anytime soon (read ever).
While some dismiss social media as having any sizeable impact on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the fact is that a growing number of urban Indians are online and active on Facebook, Twitter or both.
Facebook especially is growing at a much faster rate with over 82 million users in India in April-June period for the year 2013. In fact as the Muzaffarnagar riots revealed, Facebook is being used even in non-metro areas to push forth political agendas and ideas. A fake video of a mob lynching two boys which was shared on YouTube and Facebook, played a major role in adding fuel to the already simmering tensions in the district.
The incident proves that it would be wrong to say that only urban youth based in Delhi, Mumbai and such use Facebook. In that sense, Rahul isn't mistaken to ensure that Congress has some sort of online-strategy for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The question is whether he's too late for now.