Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has got down to business. A day after a roadshow and being with her mother-in-law in Jaipur, the newly-appointed Congress general secretary and east UP in charge met the party workers and sought details of their social media accounts.
The politicians and party workers who want to meet Priyanka are given a form asking for basic information like age, electoral experience, whether they have held any organisational positions, their Twitter handles and WhatsApp numbers.
The information about Twitter handles is being sought to gauge the social media presence of the individual.
Congress has been late on this platform but realised its importance in shaping public opinion. Just days ago, Priyanka Gandhi also made a debut on Twitter and got lakhs of followers in just a few hours.
BSP president Mayawati also opened a Twitter account recently in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. There was a time when her party used to say that BSP supporters do not watch TV and don't get influenced by surveys. This myth was shattered both in the last Lok Sabha elections as well as Uttar Pradesh assembly elections where BSP suffered major reverses. It is for this reason that Congress wants to map social influencers within its own organisation.
The WhatsApp number is being sought because Congress wants to create a feedback and direct communication mechanism with every person within the party's eco-system. It wants to turn a platform made for personal communication into a broadcast mechanism. The BJP used WhatsApp brilliantly in Gujarat and snatched the elections from the jaws of defeat.
The collation will allow Data Analytics department in Delhi to create faster and honest feedback for the leadership.
But what makes this form truly Indian is that it also asks for the caste and sub-caste status of an individual. The caste system is India's hard and ugly reality and no political party in the country gives tickets without taking caste into consideration. So is the case with Congress.
Every party speaks against the caste system. Indian Constitution intends to correct social inequity caused by the caste system through the reservation. Even then political parties do not move away from the caste matrix.
This is the irony of the Indian politics that commitment to erase caste from public life remains only on paper and seminar halls.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)