Prodyut Bora, the man credited with setting up the BJP’s IT Cell in 2007, is disillusioned with what he floated then. Now founder-chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party, a small political party in Assam, Bora opined that the BJP IT Cell has become ‘Frankenstein’s monster’.
In an interview to HuffPost India, Bora opened up on the ideology behind the IT cell when it was initially set up, and its changing trajectory.
Speaking to the news website, Bora recollects that the thought behind the IT cell germinated in 2007, when he was media assistant to the then BJP President Rajnath Singh. On the way to Uttar Pradesh for campaigns, Singh reportedly questioned Bora on a strategy that would “put BJP ahead of the other parties.”
Bora proposed that an IT Cell would be the best way to keep in touch with the voters.
Bora – a management consultant – joined the BJP in 2004. He was employed in the media cell under Arun Jaitley, which was then convened by Sidharth Nath Singh. He was then designated as Rajnath Singh’s media assistant in 2006 during the UP Assembly elections.
Also Read: Why I Am Resigning From the BJP
Objectives of the IT Cell When It Was Set Up
Following this, he set up the BJP IT Cell in 2007. Bora told HuffPost India that the objectives of the IT Cell was three-fold: “to automate the part, to reach out to the voters, and advise the party on policy matters.”
As far as policy matters were concerned, the cell helped the party determine its stand on bandwidth and internet roll-out in 2007, and on Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).
The party also looked to employ people who were “enthusiastic about IT, and technology,” Bora told the website.
"You know, it was purely about technology – it was not about cursing people and running trolls."
Bora recounted how media houses deemed the BJP as being way ahead of the Congress in the IT and social media department, especially at a time when social media was a fledgling entity.
‘Team Modi Started the Rot’
Looking back at the IT cell in its current form, Bora lamented that his “legacy had been turned upside down.”
"My legacy doesn’t stand. It has been turned upside down. It is like – maybe this is a bad example – but it is like asking Mr Vajpayee today what legacy he has left in the BJP. It’s completely destroyed. Fortunately for us, we did not have social media. I mean it had just come in and in India, people had dismissed social media as something not happening." - Bora to HuffPost India
He also said that the 2014 campaign was when the IT cell was transformed. The cell was supposedly controlled by a team in Gujarat.
"The formal head of the IT cell was there peripherally but the entire thing was Modi’s team. So Team Modi started the rot." - Bora to HuffPost India
Now Bora attempts to be ‘dispassionate’ about the IT cell, as “its just painful to watch what they have done with it.”
Why Bora Quit the BJP
When questioned on the reasons for quitting the party, Bora told the website that he wanted to quit the party as soon as Modi was declared the prime ministerial candidate.
However, he was reportedly urged to stay on by his colleagues in the party to give Modi a ‘second chance’ in 2014. Ten months later, he quit.
Elaborating on his reasons, Bora told HuffPost India that the events at the Centre were a repeat of all that had unfolded in Gujarat.
Earlier, In 2015, when Bora had quit the BJP, he listed five broad reasons for his exit:
- Assam was still neglected by the senior leadership of the party.
- Hegemony of Modi-Shah duo.
- Corruption in BJP Assam.
- Himanta Biswa Sarma, who according to Bora was corrupt.
- State President Siddhartha Bhattacharya
In his conversation with HuffPost, Bora also said, “You cannot fix the IT cell until you fix the party’s president.”
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