Nitish Kumar wants his party leaders to take note of how social interests have become a platform for personal gain to mislead the people. The fact that the Bihar Chief Minister was serious about the matter was enough when he spoke twice in the last one week.
At a time when political misinformation is ready, Nitish seems concerned about the use of social media to spread fake news. Quick browsing of social media ‘channels’ will lead to various digital news forums that continue to expose questionable content about Bihar politics in the name of news and analysis.
Bihar has 39.3 million internet users and more than 62.1 million mobile phones, most of which are estimated to access messages through social media. “The impact is huge in terms of numbers. When rumors, in the guise of facts, germinate like digital weeds, the unverified description runs before the usual transformation, traction detection goes viral,” said a senior IAS officer in the state.
On January 5, Nitish spoke about the ‘misuse of social media’ while addressing the government’s action on the environment. His concern is to create misconceptions at the price of reality. Nitish Kumar comments on how Bihar presented the ‘Digital India Award 2020’ to President Ram Nath Govind in December 2020 for providing timely relief to the poor during the lockout period. On the other hand, the comment put forward on social media by the epidemic was about the state government failing enough to fight the Govt crisis. “More than three million migrants have returned to Bihar without work due to the lockout. Although the state government has spent about Rs 10,000 crore to reach out to the poor and vulnerable and help them, our party has failed to send a positive message on social media about this. ) Or senior leader of the JDU.
Addressing the JDU state executive committee on January 9, Nitish again raised the issue of social media, asking party leaders to share “positives” on social media platforms and to encourage the younger generation.
The message is important. Although Nitish has been in power for many years, many in the JDU have relied solely on his goodwill and have done little to increase or consolidate the party’s support base. While most secondary JDU leaders have a social media presence, they have done little to harness the power of the Internet. “The easiest way to stab a lie is to tell the truth. We failed during our election campaign. When there was a need to counter the lie, our second leaders ignored the evil campaign against us. The social media accounts of JDU politicians are unused and often impersonated.” .D (U) leader says one.
According to another party leader: “With 6.2 million followers on Twitter, Nitish Kumar is the most popular politician in Bihar. Lalu Prasad has 5.5 million followers and Tejashvi Yadav has 2.8 million. But, while the chief minister is leading the number of social media, his party has been declining. JDU has just 54,000 followers on Twitter. By comparison, the RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) has 461,000 followers. ”
New JD (U) national leader Ram Chandra Prasad Singh has already described the assembly election results as unsatisfactory, saying “this is still a possible victory due to Nitish Kumar’s credibility and credentials”. His party did worse than expected from opinion polls, which saw them at gaining about 43 seats.
Some party leaders have argued that pro-NDA votes were deliberately split where JD (U) contested because Sirik Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) fielded candidates aimed at defeating Nitish. “But Chirac won because the anti-Nitish campaign was ignored on social media by our party members,” says a JDU leader.
While there is no official word on it, the general opinion is that fake accounts are set up on social media to spread suspicious claims. “Social media sites act as distribution hubs, from where misinformation can be pushed to the welcoming audience,” says a state official who did not want to be named.
JDU leaders admit that their opponents are highly organized on social media. When Nitish Kumar addressed his first virtual rally on September 6, a campaign was launched by the opposition to dislike the video. Our party has not really responded, ”said a JDU leader. JDU leaders said the party should realize the need to present a more limited voice on social media for greater political involvement as the chief minister brings up the issue. Political involvement ensures a broader support base and more votes. With elections in Bihar still many years away, the war to create and manage political opinion will intensify in the coming days.
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