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TMC lines up online fighters

Virtual overdrive: army of social media campaigners in uniform
Sources in Trinamul said chief minister Mamata Banerjee had realised the importance of newer forays, IT-wise, after the saffron camp — largely with its online campaigns — had “considerably succeeded” in building public perception against the state government’s handling of the pandemic.
Sources in Trinamul said chief minister Mamata Banerjee had realised the importance of newer forays, IT-wise, after the saffron camp — largely with its online campaigns — had “considerably succeeded” in building public perception against the state government’s handling of the pandemic.
(File picture)

Snehamoy Chakraborty   |   Bolpur(Birbhum)   |   Published 11.06.20, 10:22 PM

The Trinamul Congress is all set to deploy teams of net-savvy youths as its social media campaigners, which will be the first such regiment of the party to specifically take on the IT cell of the BJP’s propaganda machinery.

Senior Trinamul leaders said each district would see the deployment of at least five youths for every block and three youths per a civic area. These young men and women would be paid a monthly honorarium of Rs 3,000 each for the work that they are expected to be available for 24x7.

The social media campaigners would also be given uniforms — dark blue pants and sky blue shirts with the emblem of the Trinamul IT cell.

“There will be a lot of first strikes from us now. We will act, not just react,” said a Trinamul leader.

According to him, there is a realisation in the party that online campaigns will play a much bigger role than ever before in the “new normal” of Covid-19 and that’s why the party — aided by poll consultant Prashant Kishor’s Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) — has decided to ramp up its IT capabilities.

“Given the spread of Covid-19, we don’t know when we will be able to go back to political activities, such as rallies, of the past…. Let’s face it, the BJP showed how it has been thinking out of the box, with the Amit Shah virtual rally. We are also going to prove ourselves virtually,” the Trinamul leader said.

Sources in Trinamul said chief minister Mamata Banerjee had realised the importance of newer forays, IT-wise, after the saffron camp — largely with its online campaigns — had “considerably succeeded” in building public perception against the state government’s handling of the pandemic.

A meeting was held last week by Birbhum district Trinamul chief Anubrata Mondal in Bolpur where all block leaders were asked to find at least five youths from their respective areas. These youths, said Mondal, needed to be adept at social media, with the ability to quickly handle several platforms simultaneously.

“These youths would not only counterattack but also attack. Besides, they will spread awareness of the achievements of the state government and the failures of the Centre,” said Abhijit Sinha, a Trinamul vice-president and mentor of the Birbhum zilla parishad.

All such youths would first receive extensive training from experts brought in by the IT cell before they are deployed.

_“We have already started selection of the youths in every block and the recruitments would be conducted soon,” said Nabendu Mahali, a Trinamul general-secretary in Purulia.

_Hooghly district chief of Trinamul Dilip Yadav said: “We would send the list of the youths to Calcutta very soon.”

Sources said the social media campaigners would work independently of the I-PAC which had already been executing elaborate IT plans. Team PK has already launched groups in each district — such as Hooghly’r Gorbo Mamata or Bankura’r Gorbo Mamata — for the I-PAC-driven campaign.

“But, of course, they (social media campaigners) would be given a lot of help by Team PK. These teams are expected to go lower and deeper in the grassroots,” said a Bengal minister, adding it had been realised recently the senior leadership of Trinamul, its IT cell and Team PK tended to focus more on national and state issues.

He said a lot of things — for and against the ruling dispensation — had been taking place at the grassroots but remained largely overlooked by the overall IT handling from the top.

“That mistake, the BJP does not make,” he added.



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