Congress president Rahul Gandhi is particular about digitisation of the party workers’ network and has asked the AICC to maintain online details of every party worker as well as the data related to the booths they look after. He wants to bring the party’s vast network of volunteers on a single e-platform ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections and the Assembly elections in three major states before that.

The aim of this digitisation process, which according to party sources is the brainchild of data analytics organisation, Cambridge Analytica, is to do micro-targeting of voters and prepare an election plan that will be catering to seat-wise preferences of the voters.

Party sources said that after the details of every party and booth workers are put on record, the past five years’ data of every booth will be added and the same will be shared with the booth workers. In the starting phase, data related to the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan is being collected and collated. This digitisation project, which has been named “Shakti”, was launched in Jaipur last week. This will also allow the party workers to share their feedback from the ground with the Central leaders. 

To make sure that only genuine party workers join the platform, a two-level scrutiny process will be used during which the data and the identity of the sender will be screened and filtered. 

Party sources said that it will be a two-way communication platform where the workers and leaders will be able to share their feedbacks and suggestions without personally meeting each other and on a real time basis. Since last year, Rahul Gandhi has been in consultation with Cambridge Analytica, which also helped Donald Trump in the US elections. It focuses on using data to analyse the preferences of voters after which political parties work on their strategies as per the analysis that the data firm shares with them. Last month, Rahul Gandhi appointed Praveen Chakravarty, a well-known political economist, as the head of the AICC’s Data Analytics department which shows the importance Rahul Gandhi gives to the data game. 

Chakravarty, who holds a degree from the Wharton School and BITS Pilani, is known for his expertise in empirical research based on data and for formulating public policy using electoral database. With Chakravarty at the helm and the brain of Cambridge Analytica in the background, the party hopes to reach out to voters and their preferences much before the actual campaigning on the ground begins.

“Rather than wait for the campaigning to start and then interact with voters and seek what they want, it will be much more beneficial if we go to them during the campaigning and tell them that we know what they want and this is how we intend to help them in getting that. For this to happen, we need to have data on booth basis and this is the whole objective of this digitisation process,” a party source said.

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