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Taking inspiration from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has decided to use social media platforms to leverage his position in the state. CM Adityanath plans to enhance the state government’s connect with the masses by using popular social media platforms like the Facebook and Twitter. The move is also aimed at increasing awareness levels among citizens with regard to several welfare schemes, policy measures and other programmes. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recently registered a resounding victory in the latest civic polls that concluded in November and results for which were out on Friday. BJP managed to bag 14 of the 16 mayoral seats in the state. The recent victory has acted as a boost to CM Adityanath and his party, whose political hold over the region is said to be re-affirmed by the poll results. The UP government is setting up a social media hub at Lok Bhawan, the state secretariat, in Lucknow that would start functioning by December-end. Adityanath has also asked officials to prepare a blueprint to harness the reach and penetration of social media for instant dissemination of information. The strategy of using social media should ensure that all sections, especially the poor, marginalised and vulnerable, are well-informed. This is in stark contrast to the previous Samajwadi Party government that had earlier claimed that poor awareness levels with regard to several development projects accomplished under Akhilesh Yadav’s regime cost them the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 UP polls. India has one of the fastest-growing mobile phone markets in the world and the mode of consumption of news has been transitioning in favour of increased consumption of online content. UP, which is the most populated state in the country, is not lagging behind in this regard.
At the end of May 2017, the total number of mobile phone subscribers in UP stood at around 170 million.Reviewing the progress of the state information department last night, CM Adityanath directed department officials to get trained in latest technologies. District magistrates and department heads were instructed to use social media platforms to disseminate information. For press releases as well, state officials were asked to keep in mind the nuances of online media. After coming to power on March 19, Adityanath had laid emphasis on a proactive role in maintaining contact with the public. He had stressed on the need to set up a spot feedback system for government schemes and public grievances. The information department mandarins were asked to devise a robust policy for using social media for propagating government policies over Facebook and Twitter, among other platforms. Acting administrative and police officials were also advised to be more active on social media and take steps to issue clarifications on controversial issues. Simultaneously, ruling party BJP has asked its ministers and leaders to avoid unnecessary controversies. Taking cue from his party, CM Adityanath has also asked told BJP ministers, legislators and office bearers to be cautious while expressing their views and opinions on social media platforms. Earlier, UP Director General of Police (DGP) Javeed Ahmad had issued an advisory to his force, seeking restrain from officials with regard to expressing views on such platforms, especially on issues of politics, religion, government, gender and caste, among others.