Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has joined the bandwagon of the country's net-savvy politicians to tweet and comment. The man with the charkha-spinning image has burst forth on the social networking sites apparently trying to make good use of the latest modes in social communication.
While his account with Facebook is slightly older, his entry into Twitter was noticed with his tweet on the day of Dussehera on Thursday. Mr. Gehlot's second tweet, which appeared on Friday, was a tribute to the genius of Steve Jobs: “Millions like me will forever remember Steve Jobs as a legendary innovator who touched our lives. Long live the ‘i' man”.
Of course, Mr. Gehlot's Twitter account -- @ashokgehlot51-- has only a few followers and it would look a far cry from the ones like that of Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah or Congress MP Shashi Tharoor but then the new entrant is only testing the waters and tweeting very selectively. In contrast, he has made over 5,000 friends on his Facebook account, “Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister, Rajasthan, and Official Fan Page”.
“It is not that Mr. Gehlot had been averse to technology. In fact he has this fascination for gadgets and he was one of the early users of digital diary,” pointed out a source in Chief Minister's Office. Mr. Gehlot thinks that new methods of two-way communication like Twitter and Facebook could be made use of to reach more people, they pointed out. The target group, it appears, is youth.
Not that everybody is impressed. “Good that he has joined the social networking sites but he better maintain his communication with the ordinary people, the masses,” said Dushyant Ojha, septuagenarian leader of the Communist Party of India. “Social networking sites are for big people. His office must be getting at least half a dozen gunny bags of letters and memoranda daily, crying for attention. He should ensure that they are replied to,” Mr. Ojha said.
When it comes to social networking, Rajasthan cannot boast of much exuberance on the part of the politicians here though the State's Tourism Minister Bina Kak is active on Facebook with her prolific wildlife photographs.
Rajasthan BJP president Arun Chaturvedi is on Facebook while party MLAs Bhawani Singh Rajawat and a few others from the Congress like Raghu Sharma and Raghuvendra Mirdha are active on it.