With just two months left months to the West Bengal assembly elections, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress is preparing to unleash an extensive social media campaign. To counter the massive BJP wave in the state, Mamata Banerjee and her new ally Prashant Kishor is centralising the entire social media campaign in the run-up to the state elections, which is going decide Mamata Banerjee’s political future.
According to a Sunday Guardian report, most of the TMC leaders’ social media handles are now being handled by Prashant Kishor’s Indian-Political Action Committee (I-PAC). The senior party leaders, including ministers, MPs and MLAs, have surrendered their social media accounts to IPAC members, who manage their day-to-day social media campaigns.
However, a select few “big” leaders of All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) have employed their own personal social media staff, unlike those of the rest of the MPs and MLAs whose passwords have been given to the social media team of the political consulting group – Indian-Political Action Committee (I-PAC) that is now working to keep Mamata Banerjee-led AITC in power in West Bengal.
Some of the senior leaders who have refused to give IPAC any access to their social media accounts, including that of Facebook and Twitter are – Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, Minister Firhad Hakim, and party Lok Sabha MPs Mahua Moitra, Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan.
These ‘celebrity’ leaders are managing their own social media campaigns and have shown no interest to surrender their accounts to Prashant Kishor. The IPAC, instead of directly controlling these accounts, now sends tweets and content for Facebook to these senior leaders, who may or may not share it further.
Party leaders are unaware of their social media accounts, Twitter ‘verifies’ all the handles
Former Rajya Sabha MP Dinesh Trivedi, who recently quit TMC, had also alleged that his social media handles were taken over by I-PAC members, who often post “abusive tweets”.
The Twitter and Facebook accounts of several TMC leaders, including MPs and MLA, were created on social media platform only after the 2019 general elections, especially after I-PAC took over the campaigning of Trinamool. The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress had joined hands with IPAC after a humiliating Lok Sabha elections. And social media accounts for several party leaders were directly created by I-PAC, and the leaders themselves were not aware of this. Several Trinamool Congress party leaders have revealed that they are not even aware that they have Twitter accounts in their names, while their accounts regularly post content on social media platforms.
Interestingly, the Twitter accounts of all the TMC leaders were immediately “verified” within days, based on a list sent by the office of Abhishek Banerjee to Payal Kamat, who handles “public policy and government” at Twitter. Most importantly, Kamat had worked for Indian-Political Action Committee as their communication manager from August 2015 to April 2018.