Team Anna’s use of social media caught us unawares, says Khurshid

Team Anna's use of the 'social media' to generate public awareness on the Jan Lokpal movement has taught the government a lesson or two, admitted Law Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday. With this the government too is now looking at how it could use the medium in future.

Speaking with members of India Women's Press Corps on Tuesday, Khurshid said, "We were caught unawares because Anna's movement was a remarkable combination of traditional politics and unconventional modern practices. We were at a disadvantage because we did not use the social media as effectively as Anna's movement did."

"But I must also add that it is a little more difficult to do that being within government. If you are outside the government you can get away with a lot more flexibility in what you say and the views you express. However my colleagues in the government are looking at how the social media could be used effectively," he said.

The minister pointed out how the campaigns on Twitter, Facebook and through SMSes and mails helped Hazare to create popularity for the Jan Lokpal movement, something that the government was 'caught unawares' by. "It was happening for the first time. But again now Hazare has been taking credit for everything else — the Hisar elections — but for what he actually achieved (creating awareness on the Jan Lokpal Bill)," he said.

"I think Anna Hazare should be given due credit. He and his team are right that for 42 years no one ever mentioned the Lokpal Bill. However I also feel that like every idea whose time has to come, the Lokpal's time has come only now."

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