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Guess What? Congress is The New Employer in Town in Jobs-starved India

This has led to speculations whether a desperate Congress is expanding its social media team to catch with the BJP or the earlier team has left the organization with Hooda. Multiple sources have told News18 that it’s more of the latter.

Uday Singh Rana | News18.com@UdaySRana

Updated:July 12, 2017, 3:23 PM IST
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Guess What? Congress is The New Employer in Town in Jobs-starved India
File photo of Actor-Turned-Politician Ramya.
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New Delhi: Congress often accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not creating enough jobs, but it seems at least one organization is on a hiring spree — social media team of the Grand Old Party!

Congress social media team underwent a leadership change just over a month ago when actor-turned-politician Divya Spandana, better known as Ramya, took over the Congress’s social media cell from Deepender Singh Hooda, Rohtak MP and son of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

On Tuesday morning, the LinkedIn page of Congress showed 25 openings. These included analytics manager, account director, digital media planner, data analyst, animator, video editor and caricaturist. Congress is also looking for people who can translate written and spoken material in Tamil, Malyalam, Telegu, Kannada and Gujarati.

This has led to speculations whether a desperate Congress is expanding its social media team to catch with the BJP or the earlier team has left the organization with Hooda. Multiple sources have told News18 that it’s more of the latter.

A former member of Congress social media team said, “There was a change in leadership and with it came a change in direction. It is not that anybody is to be blamed. We just didn’t have the kind of space we used to. It is natural for a new leader to do things in her own way.”

A second source in Congress’s social media team said the recent changes brought about by the leadership have triggered some sharp exchanges at the topmost level. He cited an example when an articulate MP decided to exit a WhatsApp group of senior party leaders due to simmering and persisting differences.

Ramya, however, has a different story to tell. “Yes, we are expanding the team,” she said.

When asked if the reports of mass desertion were true, she said, “Within the AICC organization, people move around to work in different departments all the time, and we encourage this for holistic growth.”

Congress, much like its presence in Lok Sabha, has been reduced to sidelines on social media. On Twitter, while @BJP4India boasts of 5.43 million followers, @INCindia has only about 2 million followers. Even a newbie like @AamAadmiParty has 3.3 million followers.

The contrast in the followers of party leaders is even starker. PM Modi has 31.5 million followers. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, less than four years old in politics, has 11.8 million. Rahul Gandhi, however, has only 2.38 million followers. Even former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, with 3.66 million, has more followers than the Gandhi scion.

The 127-year-old party says it is determined to change that image and the challenges are immense. One of the first politicians in India to effectively utilize social media was Congress’s Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor. Today, he has an impressive followership of 5.41 million on Twitter. It is ironic, therefore, that his own party has failed to utilize the medium.

According to a source, the Congress set up its new social media team just before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. “As it is, we felt that we were late to the social media game. Then we had the examples of BJP and AAP in front of us. BJP was effective in spreading its message and AAP was a party that gained support almost entirely because of their management of social media. We had to step up our game… in the modern age, a political party cannot survive without an effective social media presence.”

But with public opinion against the Congress, a sense of fatigue started to set in. “We were fighting an uphill battle in 2014. When public opinion is against you, the job of the social media team becomes very difficult. That is why we were all fatigued. I hope the new leadership can shake that off,” he added.

For Ramya, however, it’s not about emulating the BJP and AAP. “We don’t intend to hog the space. It is a platform for us to engage, discuss and debate with diverse people. It cannot be about one voice, one opinion alone. We focus on the message, not on the noise,” she said with a sense of confidence.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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