Lalu’s Twitter page
Patna, Jan. 15: Lalu Prasad, the man who had developed his unique brand of mass contact social media in the nineties and had once famous shunned technology as “Yeh IT-YT kya hota hai”, has finally succumbed to the charms of cyberworld.
The RJD chief, who is out on bail after being convicted in the fodder scam, today joined Twitter (@laluprasadrjd) to reach out to the people, especially the youths, in a fast-changing world.
Speaking to The Telegraph at wife Rabri Devi’s 10 Circular Road residence (she is entitled to a government house by dint of being a former chief minister), Lalu praised IT like never before.
“Now, people will follow me, my son told me that it is very useful and it is an important tool to convey a message fast to the people,” the former chief minister said. But what is Lalu without any Laluism? “People will follow me,” he repeated, talking in Twitter lingo. “But I won’t follow people,” he quipped.
He went back on his statement made about 12 years ago and claimed that IT is very important in the current era and an effective medium to reach out to the people.
“IT is very important in today’s world and by joining Twitter, I have proved that one cannot run away from social media. I know what I have said in the past but that is not relevant today. My sons Tej Pratap and Tejaswi are Net-savvy and both of them use social media on a regular basis,” Lalu said, while cleaning his teeth with the help of a toothpick after finishing eating a guava.
Bihar’s IT prospects had taken a beating in the early 2000s when Lalu had famously run down the sector, saying “IT-YT kya hota hai?” IT firms looking at the east gave the state a miss and opted to set up shop in Bengal and Odisha instead.
Lalu now wants to change that image and has decided to be regular on both Facebook — he launched a page on the social networking site last year — and Twitter and has assigned the job of managing them to Tejaswi.
“To be very honest, I would like to say that I will only make the statement and Tejaswi will tweet on my behalf. He is tech friendly and uses the latest devices like BlackBerry and tablets. I am not comfortable with these gadgets, in fact I do not even like carrying a cellphone,” the 65-year-old Lalu said.
Social commentators say Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites — all driven by the IT revolution — have fast been creating their separate constituencies and no leader can afford to ignore them now.
Though Lalu said he would not follow anyone, Tejaswi has already started following as many as 17 people, including several newspapers and news channels, on behalf of his father.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar, who also has a Facebook account, has a different view on Twitter. Recently Nitish said he has no interest in tweeting, deriding it as being the noise made by birds. Nitish’s chief adversary in the state, former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP, is a regular user of Twitter and Facebook.
The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, over whom Nitish parted ways with his ally of 17 years last June, is very active on social media as well.
Eager to show his newfound love for social media, Lalu lashed out at Nitish for his comment on Twitter. “He is depressed and has lost his thinking ability. Actually he knows that nobody will follow him on Twitter,” Lalu said.