'Congress will use IT for Rural Transformation'

by Muntazir Abbas    Apr 13, 2009

The Lok Sabha election this year is apparently tech-oriented as some of the political parties, including BJP and CPI (M) are turning to Internet-driven campaigns? What is Congress doing in this sphere?

Ours is the only political party that has a website in three languages. Since the last election in 2004, we have a comprehensive portal with several dedicated sections that include TV, radio and print advertisements as well as election manifesto. Additionally, we’ll soon put videos of speeches and campaigns of various Congress leaders. Also we are getting an average of three lakh hits per day, which sometimes goes up to 5 lakh.   

What are your plans to connect regional party offices through WAN?

We have connected 50 state and district office locations so far, including those of Pradesh Congress Committees and large cities. The IP-based UC facilitates video conferencing and online communication between these locations. Also we are looking forward to connect more offices.
Are you planning to partner with Internet service providers to pitch Congress-campaign related links during this election?

Yes. We are putting up our online campaigns on various high- traffic portals.

What is your IT-driven organizational roadmap, including database management and SAN?

We have a database management since 1994. Congress party has thus become the first party in the country to setup database and maps. We have a comprehensive database and geographical imaging system, in addition to statistics and demographics.

What is your strategy to use social networking sites like Orkut, and Facebook to drive youth traffic?

We have a large number of supporters on social networking sites, but we’ll not use this officially. May be sometime later, we’ll look forward to it. 

Congress’ Jai Ho campaign on YouTube has got a good response. Will you go for more such campaigns?

Yes. It has attracted nearly 40,000 viewers. We are putting all the videos on YouTube, and more will come up.

Are there any plans for Jai Ho ringtones, caller tunes and screensavers?

Of course! 14,000 Jai Ho ring tones have been downloaded in first-two hours from our Website, which is overwhelming.   

Is your party planning for bulk e-mails and messaging?

We don’t intend to send emails to those who don’t want, but this is only for those who are registered with us. We have sent a mass mail of Congress manifesto to 80 lakh people.

What will be your new initiatives in Cyber space? Will you also go for campaigns like Advani for PM? Or will you take the Rahul factor forward to attract youth through the Internet?

Not yet. Not many people know the truth behind the Advani for PM e-campaign. The links to Facebook, Orkut and YouTube through BJP’s dedicated Website tells a gloomy tale. Advani for PM on Orkut has 1,358 members, while Facebook has only 566 supporters, and there are 9,134 visits on YouTube.

What is your IT vision for the country?

We have a very clear vision for IT in the country, and have already outlined it in the party manifesto. We’ll use IT for rural transformation as well as connect all the villages with Broadband network within a timeframe of three-years.