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Social Media a game changer

In talks with Mayur Shekhar Jha , Social media state coordinator , Jharkhand Congress

1.       Why is Congress win in Jharkhand state viewed as a game changer? 
The win in Jharkhand comes barely months after BJP won Lok Sabha elections at a scale that made people talk about their invincibility. But the united opposition the state, led by Hemant Soren, did not give up. We kept fighting. We kept going back to the people. We kept raising their issues. We kept fighting for them.

We didn't have access to the kind of resources BJP has. In the end, hard work of Hemant Soren and all the leaders of the Jharkhand Mahagathbandhan prevailed over the unlimited financial and administrative might of BJP.

2.      How has social media driven the pre-poll campaign ? 
Because of effective use of social mediawe could drive a strategic narrative shift to the real issues which mattered for the people of the state. BJP tried every trick in the trade to divert the discourse to issues soch as 370. But our social media volunteers, held on to their turf. We kept asking the questions that really mattered. And we kept reminding the citizens of Jharkhand, the scale to which the selfish, arrogant regime of Raghubar Das ji had hurt the interests of youth of Jharkhand. An 8 year old girl, named Santoshi, died in Simdega district of Jharkhand, because my government won't give ration to her poor parents, till they linked their ration card to Aadhar. The way her mother narrated Santoshi's trauma, still shakes me up at times. Her dying words were, "bhat bhat". We fought the election for Santoshi and at least 16 other poor brothers and sisters, who died of hunger. Yes, hunger death in the 21st century, this is the harsh reality of the state, which bears the richest mineral reserves in the country. We fought the election so that a Santoshi never has to die of hunger.

Corporates and mafia were having a free run in the state, plundering the rich mineral reserves. We cough the election against this plunder. We fought the election for "jal, jungle, jameen".

3.      How would you being at helm propose to use the social media tools in reaching out to people after coming to office? 
One of the biggest failures of the Raghubar Das government was complete communication block. May be he had a lot to hide. Our government will use new age communication tools to constantly engage with the people of Jharkhand. There will be two way communication. Social media will be a very strategic tool to keep our ears to the ground, and time bound redressal of grievances.

4.      Should Congress party take cues from the Jharkhand's pre poll strategy crafted by you and your team? 
At a national level, Congress social media is handled by Rohan Gupta, one of the sharpest communication strategists in this country has. On the social media front, in the last 3 months, ever since Rohan has taken over, there has been a massive discourse shift. It is because of this discourse shift, strategically driven by Rohan's team, that we were able to substantially bring down BJP in Haryana and maharashtra and conclusively defeated them in Jharkhand.
5.      According to a recent  survey, most voters said their main source of political news was television, followed by newspapers. The survey states that only three percent said their main source was social media. What is your view?

I didn't agree with the survey. May be it was a skewed sample. Consumption and dissemination of political content has heavily shifted to digital platforms. I may not be able to quantify in terms of percentage, but I can definitely tell you, the 3 % figure is far from reality.

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