Congress plans to train cadre to spread presence in social media


The Congress has decided to train techno-savvy cadres to spread the party's presence in the social media, whose role in the recent protests in New Delhi as also in influencing the opinion of the youth and middle class against the Congress and the government came up for discussion at the Chintan Shivir in Jaipur.

This comes even as senior leader Digvijaya Singh Saturday accused Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of running a Sanskar Kendra on the outskirts of Ahmedabad where about 50 professionals are paid to post anti-Congress and anti-government messages in social media. Singh also alleged that the BJP and the RSS are part of the plan.

The brainstorming session which concluded Saturday saw a host of party leaders expressing concern about the recent protests in Delhi and the role of Facebook and Twitter in mobilising them.

Though Communications & IT Minister Kapil Sibal was dismissive of social media, reportedly terming it as a "fake agent of the BJP", many other leaders exhorted the leadership over the past two days to take a hard look at its near-absence from the social media.

Speaking at the committee's meeting Friday, Union Minister Jitin Prasada, for instance, suggested the party has to change to be in sync with the new age of social media and flash mobs. He said negative sentiments were being spread on internet and the party has to reach out to GenNext.

In the Jaipur Declaration to be adopted at the AICC session on Sunday, the party is likely to spell out a comprehensive plan to increase its presence on the social media.

The Congress's plan for rationalization of subsidies on diesel and LPG cylinders are also likely to figure in Jaipur Declaration. The sub-committee on socio-economic challenges was learnt to have taken the view that there should either be dual pricing mechanism to ensure that farmers — who consume just around 12 per cent of the total diesel — owning tractors and diesel pump sets continue to get subsidised diesel, while affluent classes like those riding SUVs are denied subsidies. Or else, government should make an annual consumption estimate of farmers owning tractors and diesel pump sets.

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