TMC's social media wing goes pro-active under Abhishek's direction
Kolkata: From using a "jumla meter that nails the BJP's lies" to highlighting the achievements of the eight-year-old Mamata Banerjee government, Trinamool Congress has built a "pro-active campaign" for the Lok Sabha polls, with the help of social media and conventional canvassing.
The campaign is being driven from the party's 24x7 war room in Kolkata, under the leadership of Trinamool Youth Congress national president and party supremo Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
Alongside him are a crop of media and tech savvy functionaries like the party's leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O'Brien.
"Our campaign strategy is partly decided on the basis of our own surveys. There is a research team which also places its findings. We have done a lot of work based on support from the ground," said a party source.
Abhishek, who is the MP from Diamond Harbour and now contesting to retain the seat, is the overall in-charge of the campaign.
"Abhishek is extremely sharp politically, just like his aunt and comes up with valuable suggestions. Derek and a group of young leaders are with him," a Trinamool Congress leader said on condition of anonymity.
"The 24x7 war room is the venue for constant deliberations, brainstorming sessions and strategy meetings," he added.
A lot of self-criticism takes place during the interactions to understand where the party stands in a particular constituency.
Colonel (retired) Diptangshu Chaudhury, the party's social media convener, said: "We are laying equal emphasis on social media and conventional campaign. For instance, our Asansol Lok Sabha candidate (Moon Moon Sen) has already done 195 public meetings and road shows".
Incidentally, Chaudhury is also the party's election observer and election agent for Asansol, which Trinamool is striving to recapture from BJP.
"Apart from our meetings and rallies, there are many of our dedicated soldiers working behind the scenes. In every booth, we have at least 20 people who are working day and night for the party. At the grassroots level, we are very strong. On the other hand, take my word, BJP won't get polling agents in 80 percent of the booths in Asansol," said Chaudhury.
Both parties have led several rallies in the state and have several more planned for the coming days. For the sheer intensity of the political campaign here, this could be Ground Zero of BJP's 2019 Lok Sabha campaign.
"We are combating BJP in a pro-active and not defensive manner. We set the agenda, others defend," Chaudhury added.
For taking on BJP's aggressive campaign led by Modi and Amit Shah, the Trinamool Congress social media team has come up with novel features like 'Jumla Meter' which gives immediate, crisp and fact-based rejoinders to BJP's punches.
For instance, on April 20 during his election meeting in South Dinjapur's Buniadpur, Modi said: "We have shown the way by improving law and order in UP and Tripura."
Within 45 minutes, Trinamool's Jumla Meter had a post that said: "Yesterday (April 19, 2019) an Election Commission probe confirmed large scale 'booth capturing' in Tripura. Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of crimes against women".
Chaudhury claimed that the BJP's campaign is based on "fake news, lies and disinformation". "They are mostly selling dreams and jumlas," he said.
Abhishek also heads the social media team, where O'Brien plays a very vital role in strategy and designing an innovative campaign.
Besides Chaudhury, former NASSCOM Eastern Regional director Suparno Moitra also guides the party's social media activities under Abhishek's overall direction.
"The social media is an instrument of god for poorer regional parties lacking in resources to match more opulent opponents," said Moitra, the party's joint social media convener. After the Trinamool Youth Congress president revamped the social media unit between mid-2017 and January last year, the focus of the content was broken into two - highlighting development projects of the state government and countering negative propaganda by the Opposition with facts.
Trinamool Congress now has a huge presence on every online platform, including Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram and makes extensive use of videos, data and memes.