Over 1.5 lakh calls and digital responses were received in the first 24 hours of the launch of Mamata Banerjee’s “Didi Ke Bolo (Tell Didi)” outreach initiative.
The official Twitter handle of the initiative — being handled by a team of over 250 from poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) — posted on Tuesday that the resources mobilised for handling the calls and digital responses were being enhanced.
“In the last 24 hours, more than 1 lakh people have called on the #DidiKeBolo phone number. Currently, 250+ people are working round the clock on this. We are further ramping up our resources to handle the overwhelming response. We thank you for your patience!” it tweeted after complaints that calls to the number, 9137091370, were not going through.
Rumours of a server crash did the rounds on social media. On Monday and Tuesday, every time this newspaper tried calling the number, it was “busy”.
“Please note that this is over and above the 50k+ people who have shared their opinions or problems through our digital platform – (link: http://www.didikebolo.com) didikebolo.com,” added @DidiKeBolo, which was being followed by 1,273 Twitter users at 7.45pm on Tuesday. The Facebook page for the initiative had over 46,000 likes.
The initiative, launched by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday, is part of a major mass outreach drive conceived by Kishor, planned by his team and executed by Trinamul in a turnaround bid in the wake of the general election that handed the BJP 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats and leads in 121 of the 294 Assembly segments.
Mamata recently engaged the professional services of Kishor, a national vice-president of the Janata Dal United.
“The call volumes have been huge. This is turning out to be historic,” said minister of state for health Chandrima Bhattacharya, a member of a committee set up by Mamata to oversee the initiative. “But it is too early to be able to throw light on the nature of the calls, the profile of the callers, the content of what they have to say,” she said.
However, Trinamul sources said while many calls were made to convey good wishes and some out of curiosity — to see whether Mamata could actually be reached directly — many others were made to voice complaints. “From districts such as Birbhum, Bankura, Nadia, Jhargram and East Burdwan, most calls have been made to complain against party and government functionaries over corruption or delay in delivery of benefits. But most calls so far were made simply to see how the system works,” said a Trinamul source.