Social Media has started playing a pivotal role in the political discourse. There has been a drastic increase in the number of social media users. Most of these users belong to the age of 18 years to 45 years. Most of the active voters also come from the same age bracket. And these active voters rely on the new media, particularly social media for news and information. All the political parties are quite aware of this and use it to their advantage. In 2014 general elections, the BJP IT cell used social media as a weapon to spread political issues and create environment in favor of the BJP among the youths of India.
Taking a leaf out of BJP’s book many other political parties also increased their presence in social netwrok including the main opposition party- the Congress. However, the IT Cell of the Congress party failed to gain any success. It failed to create an environment in favor of the Congress party. After the rumors of Congress IT cell head- Divya Spandana- being fired, more details have emerged pertaining to rift within Congress’ social media team. According to the DNA report, there is a tug of war going on between Divya Spandana and Niret Alva. Niret Alva happens to be another dynast of the Congress. He is the son of veteran party leader Margaret Alva. Niret Alva also compose English tweets of Rahul Gandhi and is very close to the Gandhi scion.
After the Gujarat assembly elections, Alva started managing the social media accounts of the party president Rahul Gandhi and communications head Randeep Singh Surjewala. Earlier, Divya Spandana used to manage the accounts of both.
However, matter between Alva and Divya Spandana soured when Alva borrowed three social media consultants. These newly hired social media consultants sit in Jawahar Bhawan where Alva’s office is located and not at the social media’s 12, Tughlak Road office.
Alva is an ambitious person. He has ambitions to become the social media president of the party, and also expressed his interest in the data analytics team. And since he already comes from a affluent family, so there are very high possibilities that all his ambitions might come true in the days to come.
It seems like Rahul Gandhi apparently preferring a dynast has not gone down well with Spandana. According to media reports, Spandana, a former MP, is looking interested to re-enter into electoral politics with an eye on the Mandya parliamentary seat. It is said that she is now traveling to Bangalore on Saturday to discuss about the seat with the local leaders.
At a time when general elections are near, the Congress party can’t even keep its social media team together, let alone the party or an alliance (if there could be any).
Given the growing importance of media in the elections, the disunity among within the Congress social media team would definitely harm the party’s electoral prospects. In 2013, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibbal and Manish Tewari disagreed that social media will influence the 2014 polls and they ended up paying the price by suffering a humiliating defeat in 2014 general elections. According to study, in 2014 polls, social network influenced the outcome in the 160 seats.
2014 like episode will repeat again if the Congress party fails to unite it’s social media team. Social media shapes narratives. It is very important to win the war of narratives first without which real war that is the elections cannot be won.
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