Sukhbir tells SAD’s media team to focus on Canada,reaps benefits

Akali Dal’s YouTube channel gets maximum views from the North American country

Written by Goyal Divya | Ludhiana | Updated: April 16, 2014 11:03 am

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal has directed the SAD’s media team to re-double its efforts in wooing Punjabis living in Canada through the social media,particularly YouTube and Facebook. The reason: Sukhbir believes that the media,catering to the Punjabi diaspora in Canada,is dominated by ‘hardcore Jatts’ who,according to him,are perpetuating a negative image of SAD and the Badal family.

“Punjabis who have settled in Canada since 1980 and before do not have real picture of the state. They are hardcore thinkers who still associate Punjab with Khalistan,terrorism,riots while the development that is happening right now is far away from them. So the main target is to create an alternative media forum for them as they have access to internet most of the time,” said a source close to the deputy chief minister.

He added that Sukhbir plays an active role in interactions on the social media. “The deputy chief minister personally makes it a point to reply to comments on his Facebook page and a special report of all comments posted on the party’s Youtube channel,Facebook page and blog is submitted to him every few days,” the source said.

The efforts have begun to bear fruit. As per readings on the party’s Youtube channel,of 142 countries,its videos have got maximum views from Canada followed by India,US,Australia and UK; with a video titled Eh Punjab Vi Mera Hai showing the deputy chief minister’s recent visit to Pakistan garnering around 41,000 hits.

Sukhbir’s Facebook page has also garnered more than 1.64 lakh followers. “No doubt we have increased our focus on online media because development policies of SAD is all about the youth and here the target is not only youth but also Punjabi NRIs settled in Canada and all other countries. Highlighting SAD policies in our major aim and we all know that there can be no better medium than internet for this,” the deputy chief minister told The Indian Express.

“As I said in the NRI Sammelan this year,even opposition leaders who visit Canada and other nations project a negative image of Punjab like ‘ehh taa karzey vich dubb gaya,koi vikaas nahi etthe’. (Punjab is up to its neck in debt,there is no development) We want to clear all these misconceptions from minds of NRI Punjabis,” he added.

Harmeet Singh Dhillon,from SAD’s public relations team,confirmed that the party was focussing on the social media to clear all ‘misconceptions’. “We will be on Twitter very soon while Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal’s website in Punjabi will be launched next week,” he said.

And it seems that the party is talking comments on the social media networks seriously. “The idea of providing land records online was the request of an NRI on Facebook and the recently launched Punjab Police portal for complaint registration is also the brainchild of an online viewer,which the deputy chief minister passed,” Dhillon said.

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