Ahead of upcoming Assembly polls, Congress seems to be beating BJP at its own game by increasing the social media presence of the party and attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi on various fronts. Whether it is by releasing videos mocking Modi's 'hugplomacy' or directly taking a dig at the Centre for inflation, the Congress party and its president Rahul Gandhi have finally stepped into the digital space.
Just a day after Congress social media head and Karnataka leader Divya Spandana mocked Modi's acronym 'TOP', the Karnataka Congress tweeted a video on Monday questioning the prime minister's silence on Chinese provocation in Doka La and it's inability rising prices. Saying that Modi vowed to control inflation, the video cites the exorbitant price of tomatoes and other vegetables.
'When will government provide relief from rising prices, rising taxes, and shrinking incomes' is the question Congress posed to the Centre in the tweeted video. It goes on to mention the Amarnath Yatra attacks and the ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir saying, it's time for people to question the prime minister's lies.
Be it in safeguarding our border or in controlling price rise, @narendramodi government has failed in its duty.
— Karnataka Congress (@INCKarnataka) February 5, 2018
Hashtag by the name #Dhokalam started trending on Twitter, asking the Modi government to reveal the true picture of the Chinese aggression to the nation.
Chinese provocation doesn't end with Doklam. Chinese are upping the ante in Tibet as well. Why is the Govt in denial over the issue? Why doesn't Modi Govt reveal the true picture to the nation? Is our country safe? #Dhokalam pic.twitter.com/jlTLO8qdJX — Congress (@INCIndia) February 5, 2018
Times Now and Republic had called Mr. Gandhi’s word play on Doklam as anti-national. NOW, Times Now has finally woken up to the fact that there is a "Dokha" and has used the term in its breaking news story which was subsequently pulled off air. Let’s talk #Dhokalam @TimesNow pic.twitter.com/LRlb7lxu7D
— Divya Spandana/Ramya (@divyaspandana) February 5, 2018
If not setting the party apart, the sudden upsurge in Congress' social media attitude and content is definitely giving a tough competition to the BJP's social media cell which has been acing this game for sometime now. Rahul Gandhi had instructed his social media team to be more interactive and funny rather than sticking to a bland form of tweeting, said The Sunday Guardian.
Ramya has largely been credited for the Congress establishing itself on social media and unleashing a powerful campaign against the BJP. For Ramya, social media is a platform for the party to engage, discuss and debate with diverse people.
The most significant change that she has been able to effect is getting Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and several other Congress leaders with dormant accounts active on social media.
Over the last few months, Siddaramaiah has been active on his Twitter handle, has an app to connect with voters and his speeches are also being broadcast live, as The Hindu said. Reportedly, the response to the revamped Congress strategy for social media has largely been positive.
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, several Congress volunteers have also begun sending feelers on social media to understand the sentiment of the people, India Today said. A party leader quoted in the report said that there are over 20 surrogate pages run by friends of Congress party and so, while the main strategy team focuses on the imminent Assembly polls, the surrogate pages are creating a buzz around Rahul Gandhi.
Congress' social media team has also been working closely with its communication and research department to look for ideas that can dominate political discourse. As DailyO said, the results have been encouraging because the follower base of the party has increased significantly.
The extensive use of social media was evident in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. Both the official accounts of Rahul Gandhi and Congress tweeted images from the Congress president's rallies and even shared his entire itinerary beforehand. His social media also appears to have improved to 5.74 million followers.
Updated Date: Feb 05, 2018 20:06 PM