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Digital Campaign
BJP’s portal pangs put Congress on alert
Anita Katyal
Our Political Correspondent

New Delhi, February 12
With reports coming in that the much-publicised digital campaign launched by the BJP’s PM-in-waiting is popping up on adult sites, the Congress is treading very carefully in using the Internet and networking sites for projecting its leaders and publicising party programmes in the run-up to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Well aware that the technology is a double-edged weapon, Congress publicity managers are striving hard to design a digital campaign, which will not be tampered with or misused as in the case of veteran BJP leader Advani.

In his effort to connect with India’ tech-savvy youth, Advani (81) had launched his blog with great fanfare over two months ago. A special website has also been launched, social networking sites such as Facebook and Orkut are being used to popularise Advani while the popular site www.youtube.com is also being used for the same purpose.

“We don’t want to make the same mistakes as the BJP,” said a senior Congress functionary involved with the party’s poll campaign, adding that they will use effective filters to ensure that their campaign is not similarly misused. “We will also be particular about the search words we use for our campaign,” he added.

In fact, this matter was discussed at length at a recent meeting of the party’s publicity committee, which was also attended by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who is known to be extremely tech-savvy like his late father Rajiv.

Since 40 per cent of India’s population consists of people who are below 30 years, the Congress recognises it has no choice but to use technology, like the Internet and SMS, to reach out to the e-generation.

The full campaign and the party’s new slogan will be unveiled after the Election Commission issues the notification for the Lok Sabha poll, but the first phase of the campaign has already been launched.

Huge hoardings with a focus on “unity, development and promise of a better future” have been strategically placed in all cities. Like the 2004 elections, the Congress will continue to stand by the “aam admi” who will feature prominently in the party’s manifesto and the campaign this time as well. The UPA government’s achievements and the future pledges will also be a recurring theme in this party’s campaign.

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