She is not on Twitter yet and was a late entrant to Facebook but realising the influence of the Internet in the poll campaign, Mamata Banerjee has decided to opt for a social-media blitzkrieg to brighten the chances of her party, the Trinamool Congress.
Mamata has asked all Trinamool candidates for the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal to field questions from the twitteratti everyday for an hour till the elections.
The candidates, whether seasoned politicians, newbies from the film industry, young ones and seniors, will have to sit before a computer and answer questions Twitter users throw at them. The event will be promoted by the party’s official twitter handle. Mamata had herself agreed to be interviewed on Facebook earlier this week.
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Starting March 15, a few days after she kicks off her election campaign with a rally in Delhi, Trinamool candidates will have to spare an hour, possibly between 4 and 5 in the evening, to communicate ideas on the world wide web.
Once the Bengal lot is done, candidates from states like Manipur, Assam and elsewhere will join the interactions.
Sitting Lok Sabha MPs Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Subrata Bakshi contesting from two urban constituencies in Kolkata will be the first to face this task. Only a handful of TMC MPs are active on social media. Quite a large number of them are uninitiated. The party’s campaign machinery has decided to ask them to use TMC’s official twitter handle @aitcofficial to host the interactions rather than open personal Twitter or Facebook accounts. “We have a plan of 360-degree communication for the campaign. Social media is a vital part of it and this kind of live interaction with election candidates on the web is a first of its kind initiative,” said party MP Derek O’Brien.
Sources said the party recently got hold of independent statistics that showed social media campaign will play an influential role in at least seven urban constituencies in Bengal.