Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has come out with micro videos where he is seen interacting with the youth of the state. (Photo: Twitter)
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has come out with micro videos where he is seen interacting with the youth of the state. (Photo: Twitter)

Naveen Patnaik rides social media wave to reach out to young urban voters

  • By tapping social media, Patnaik is building a narrative that he is still a credible face of 45 million Odias
  • After a fitness video to dispel doubts over his health, Patnaik has now come out with micro videos where he is seen interacting with the youth

Bhubaneswar: Facing certain amount of anti-incumbency after 19 years of power, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is adopting innovative campaigns this election season to reach out to youth and build a conscious narrative that he is still the credible face for 4.5 crore Odias.

After a fitness video to quell the doubt over his ill-health, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has now come out with micro videos where he is interacting with youth of the state and discussing how the central government is not giving the state its due on coal royalty and neglecting it on railway connection.

He is heard telling that seven of the 30 districts of Odisha still do not have rail connection despite Railway earning nearly 20,000 crore revenue from the state and the centre has been neglecting the coastal state. “Guess how much of that (Rs. 20,000 crore) is invested in Odisha…they spend Rs.1000 crore. After BJP came to power, they have increased it to just 1100 crore. Odisha is the most neglected state. Even after 72 years of independence, still seven of our districts are not connected by the railways. Injustice to Odisha is injustice to our youth and their future," he says.

Wearing a black trouser and white T-Shirt, Naveen is also seen talking about how the state is not getting its due in coal royalty and accuses the central government that while Odisha gets pollution from coal mines, centre enjoys the revenue.

A Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader in the state said the video and interaction with the youth is a conscious narrative that Naveen babu is building to ward-off aggressive campaigns by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) where the national party is trying to project the chief minister a spent force and losing grip over the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his recent rallies in Odisha has said that the state government is being run by a coterie and the people demand a change of BJD run state government this time.

“The third phase election in Odisha is covering the urban votes. Hence the social media is a potent medium to reach out to the masses and especially the youth. These videos are projecting Naveen babu as someone who is still active, engaging, and enjoys the mass support," said a senior officer in state secretariat requesting anonymity. In the third phase of elections on on 23 April, urban areas of Odisha like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Sambalpur etc will vote.

While Naveen Patnaik is busy doing roadshows and rallies, why has he chosen the social media to spread his youth outreach? “Social media gives a politician an advantage of one-to- many conversations. Earlier people used to consume political campaigns based on personal desire but in this election political parties are serving their agenda and messages right in the hands of people via social media like twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp. It’s a push method of making people believe what they want to say," said Nirali Bhatia, a cyber-psychologist.

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