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After Rahul's Twitter Tangle, Will Congress Try to Stage a Koo on BJP's Social Media Turf?

By: Pallavi Ghosh

CNN-News18

Last Updated: August 20, 2021, 16:22 IST

Congress workers will be trained to make videos on their phone and upload them to the party’s main server so that leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra could use them to connect with people. (Photo: AFP/File)

Congress workers will be trained to make videos on their phone and upload them to the party’s main server so that leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra could use them to connect with people. (Photo: AFP/File)

Koo, the alternative to Twitter being encouraged by the government, has already seen several Congress leaders come on board.

It’s been almost a week since Twitter has unlocked Rahul Gandhi’s account but the Congress MP is yet to post anything since on the social media site even as party leaders celebrated the restoration as “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth Alone Triumphs). The handle was temporarily suspended for tweeting pictures of the family of a nine-year-old victim of alleged rape and murder in Delhi. Rahul, though, has been active on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. In fact, he and several Congress leaders have called Twitter “saffron” and “beholden to the government”. Sources say Rahul is upset that while his account has been unlocked, the contentious tweet has been removed.

Interestingly, Koo, the alternative to US-headquartered Twitter being encouraged by the government, has seen several Congress leaders come on board. Already, Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Kamal Nath’s son and Chhindwara MP Nakul Nath, the Punjab chief minister’s office, Karnataka Congress, etc, have verified Koo handles. Congress spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa too recently joined. “I joined because Kannadigas are running the app and this is a question of Kannadiga pride also,” he said.

The Centre took issue with Twitter in February after it failed to take down accounts and posts accused of spreading misinformation about the ongoing farmers’ protest. Following this, several ministers promoted the Indian microblogging platform Koo and its downloads surged.

Sources in Congress say that it makes little sense not to be on the Koo app because if you want to take on the BJP and their narrative, then it’s best to counter them on their home turf. A senior leader said, “Look, if we took a leaf out of their Hindutva narrative and followed that path and if we are going aggressive on all social media platforms like Twitter and Insta, then why shy away from Koo?”

But the dilemma is who will take the call? Until the Gandhis give a go-ahead and other senior leaders log in to Koo, there is no chance that the Congress would officially join it. Sources in Koo said that they are reaching out to all parties and leaders as it’s incorrect to think that it is a government-promoted app. “It’s a public platform and everyone is welcome to join. In fact, there are many koos and articles on the app which present the opposition’s point of view,” they said.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Supriya Sule is already on Koo. Former Karnataka chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah was approached by the promoters. And Karnataka Congress joined as the app is being promoted by Kannadigas. Over the next few weeks, Koo representatives will meet several opposition leaders. But so far, top Congress leaders have remained reluctant. While personally many are keen to join, they are waiting to see which top leader bells the cat.​

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first published:August 20, 2021, 16:16 IST
last updated:August 20, 2021, 16:22 IST