Updated: May 18, 2016 3:11:45 am
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor was stumped on Tuesday when a young party worker sought to know the reason as to why the party has not been able to stop attempts to make fun of Rahul Gandhi on social media. “It is not easy to stop… if you are being caricatured on social media… it is an attempt to spread lies and the lie spreads,” said Tharoor, who arrived in Pune “straight from Kerala” to enlighten Congress workers about the effective use of social media and the ways to stay ahead of the “twitter-savvy BJP”.
Tharoor said that the way Rahul Gandhi was being caricatured on social media does not represent his true picture. “Rahul Gandhi is much smarter… he is being wrongly caricatured the way they do. Whether the way he turns out in public or the way he speaks in Parliament, Rahul Gandhi has a personality of his own,” he said, adding that not just Rahul, but he too has faced a similar situation on social media when he was accused of committing “a terrible crime”.
Tharoor was also at a loss of words when another Congress worker sought to know as to why there has been no coordinated effort from the party to tackle the BJP’s onslaught of tweets every day. The former Union minister said that he would convey the message to the party.
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Yet another elderly Congress worker had Tharoor stumped when he questioned as to why the UPA during its 10 year rule could not make effective use of social media. “I am not guilty for that… I was alone,” Tharoor said. He, however, conceded that the party did not pay much attention to social media then. “Probably because the party believed that governance was important and not publicity,” he said.
Tharoor said that when he began tweeting and his tweets were being ‘misinterpreted’ by the media leading to controversies, it scared some among the party. “It could be that many shunned social media because of that,” he said, adding that he was the first one to get 10,000 followers on twitter. “But later Modi ji and film stars took over… It had to happen,” he said.
Urging Congress workers to take to social media, especially twitter, in a big way, Tharoor conceded that the BJP is ahead of the party on this count. “BJP has seen the potential in social media and has gone ahead…,” he said.
Tharoor said that it is important to counter lies being spread by the BJP about Congress damaging the country’s democracy and lack of development during the party’s rule. “It is because the Congress kept democracy intact and helped it flower, that a chaiwalla could become a Prime Minister..,” he said.
Tharoor added, “When the British left India, only 8 per cent women were literate. Today that figures stands at around 65 per cent. Similarly, the life expectancy then was 27 years and now it has gone up to 70 years. Child mortality too has been reduced to 10 per cent… All this has happened in 60 years of Congress rule.”
Meanwhile, Tharoor had a tough time as supporters of youth Congress leader Vishwajeet Kadam created ruckus throughout his presence. All attempts by Tharoor to calm them down came to a nought.
“Vishwajeet has spoken to me and told me that he would not be able to remain present at today’s lecture. He told me that he would meet me today… I have got your message and would convey to the party high command,” he said. Congress city chief Abhay Chhajed said that he had no clue as to why Kadam’s supporters created ruckus at the meeting.
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