Party tells its MLAs to be active on social media and publicise Bengal government’s work in the last nine years.

 

New Delhi: West Bengal’s ruling All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), which had so far stayed away from social media, has now started emulating BJP’s style of campaigning by aggressively launching their election campaign with the help of social media.

Highly placed sources within the TMC told this correspondent that the party, taking a cue from the BJP MPs in Bengal, has instructed each of its MLAs to be active on social media and publicise the work that the Bengal government had been doing in the state for the last nine years. Sources in the TMC have also said that the party is getting each of these MLA’s social media accounts verified on Twitter and Facebook.

A Kolkata-based TMC functionary told The Sunday Guardian, “All the social media activities of the party are being operated from the office of Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee. Most of the MLAs have already made their accounts on Twitter and Facebook as instructed by the party leadership and as of now, 130 accounts of TMC MLAs are active in Bengal. All these new MLA accounts have the photograph of Mamata Banerjee having the tagline ‘Banglar Gorbo Mamata’. The social media account IDs and passwords of these MLAs are also with the office of Abhishek Banerjee who monitors them and even writes posts on the MLAs’ behalf.” The TMC functionary said that the Prashant Kishor led IPAC (India Political Action Committee, a political consultancy firm), in coordination with Abhishek Banerjee, is managing this social media campaign of the TMC.

“IPAC’s social media team is designing the content and campaign that needs to be run on social media. The party has also asked Prashant Kishor to bring up issues that connect Bengali sentiments on social media as they do not want to lose the perception battle, since the BJP is quite strong on social media. The team is also tasked with ensuring that the campaign is run on social media trends on Twitter, an art which the BJP has mastered for years now,” a TMC functionary aware of the details told this correspondent.

An IPAC insider, with whom The Sunday Guardian spoke to, said that the social media team of IPAC which is working with the Trinamool Congress, is doing exactly what the BJP has been known to be doing on social media.

A source in IPAC said: “We are asked to trend an issue relevant in the state and we use accounts of MLAs to post numerous tweets from each of those social media accounts so that the issue trends on Twitter. The TMC decided to use this model after they realised they have to counter the BJP on social media given that elections are just less than a year away.”

However, several MLAs from the TMC have said that they were unaware of the fact that accounts on Twitter and Facebook have been made in their names and are being regularly updated.

A TMC MLA said, “I was not aware at all that I have a Twitter and a Facebook account and that posts from that account are being made related to my constituency. A few days back, I got a call enquiring about whether some joining from BJP had happened in my constituency as they saw it on my Facebook account. This is totally false and I was not aware of any such post.” Another MLA, who claimed that his social media account was created without his knowledge, said, “If you want to win an election through social media, then consider it lost. Tell me, how many people use Twitter in rural Bengal? This is not Delhi, so the people giving brains to didi to fight a war on social media needs to know Bengal first.”

However, sources in IPAC told The Sunday Guardian that the firm and Abhishek Banerjee’s office have appointed points-men for each MLA whose account has been created and it is these points-men who are giving inputs from the constituency to the IPAC team and probably that is why the MLA may not be knowing what is being posted from their account.