With the time changing rapidly social media is taking everybody in its grip. The politicians are also no different to it. For it having multiple benefits including saving of time and money, they are also exploiting the facility to the maximum. Unlike earlier when the politicians used to be dependent upon the newspapers, followed by news channels, now they all have started conveying their messages through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social mediums of such nature, where with just one click their messages get flashed among thousands of people that too without any investment.
Politicians in Punjab, who were earlier not so tech-savvy, can now be seen passionately learning the operation of social networking. Almost every politician, be he or she a sitting or defeated one, is having a Facebook account. Their daily activities are on their pages for them reaching the masses. Bhagwant Mann, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Captain Amarinder Singh, Sukhpal Khaira, Kamal Sharma, Daljeet Cheema, Darbara Singh Guru and Amarinder Singh Raja Warring are among those who are highly active on social media platforms. Some of them are so popular on the social media that within minutes their posts get thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.
And realising its reach, the politicians have started exploiting it at the best, though many of them are also victim of fake accounts. Though the AAP’s campaign committee chairman and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann handles his social media accounts on different sites personally, a majority of the leaders have hired teams of well-trained young techies. The job is simple – just promote the boss. Interestingly, the use of social media among the politicians here has reached such a level that they are now competing with each other through their posts. If one posts anything, the others are sure to react on it, which ultimately makes the social networking another battlefield, where their followers are also fighting for them as sepoys.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was the first to exploit the medium to such a level, where it started making difference to the rivals as well as the common citizens of the state. Observing the things picking up, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress, who were already active on this stage, quickly took it to aggressive level. Notably, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), an alliance partner of ruling SAD, is no doubt active on social media but the reach is confined, till date. The leaders of saffron party also post their updates on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other sites and groups, but the response to them is quite letter in comparison to three main players in the field-SAD, Cong and AAP.
Taking this competition to next level, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday launched “Chahunda Hai Punjab Captain Di Sarkar” campaign, which is in fact an online competition on Facebook, where people are posting videos and messages related to Punjab issues. While many people have been reciting the slogan in their own unique ways like speaking in a group, making a poem or singing a song, others are choosing to highlight various issues which are affecting them or their areas through these videos.
This is, no doubt, a brainchild of the poll strategist Prashant Kishor whom AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi has sent to intensify party’s Punjab campaign by checking all flaws in the party’s senior leadership’s campaign planning, but the issue which matters is that it is working and helping Captain to establish better connect with the masses, which was earlier missing in the past.
The social media is also flooding with the spoofs and songs on politicians, which keeping people and politicians both busy. If AAP’s Kumar Vishvas tried to hit the Badal government through his song “Nasha”, the Akalis also came in form and one of the party’s students’ wing’s (SOI) leader came up with a Punjabi video song ‘Lalkar’ in which he slammed many of the senior leaders of the AAP for making false promises with people and befooling masses by wrong projection of the state. Apart from this, numerous professional singers, realising the trending, have also turned active to encash the momentum touching different topics including drugs. If one sings about the problem, other condemns the one who defames the state, claiming that the issues were being blown up out of proportion.
In this race, which is infact turning into a mad race, no one wants to stay behind and this spirit also comes with its side effects. Unsolicited reports have been damaging each of them and none could yet find solution to check the menace. Being incumbent, the SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal is the top victim of the circumstances as he is always heard saying “people prefer spreading negativity through social networking rather than acknowledging the efforts being made for the development of the state.” And it’s true, any message or video if it contains satire or attack on other gets viral within minutes but if it is about some positive thing, people shy sharing with others.
Notably, it’s not about the incumbent one, the opponents are also victim of the menace as they also encounter unconfirmed but highly damaging reports, which pushes all of them to put on clarifying the things with different means. So, this way the social networking through websites and internet groups becomes a bane for those who are trying to derive benefit out of it. Given due weightage to the pros and cons of the system, it has become a complex subject for the politicians themselves to decide if the social networking is a love of them or their compulsion. diary
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