Pranab-da is changing his ‘status’ — from a politician to the head of state. The janta can now directly connect with Pranab Mukherjee through the revamped official Web site of the President of India that allows people to write to him.

The site also has direct connectivity to the President’s social networking media — Facebook and YouTube.

Image guru Dilip Cherian, who tracks politics closely, finds this move somewhat out of character with Pranab Mukherjee. “Clearly, Pranab Mukherjee is graduating from being just a politician to a person holding the highest office of the country. By making an entry into the social media space, he is preparing for the 2014 elections, when he knows that informed citizens would like to reach out to him. Truly, he is planning ahead.”

The Web site has been designed by the National Informatics Centre, which also hosts it. A small team is handling the President’s interface with citizens.

Mahesh Murthy, social media expert and founder of Pinstorm, a search marketing firm, says there could be three reasons for this. First, Pranab Mukherjee is stamping his own identity after having being subsumed by the Congress High Command throughout his political career.

Second, the Congress wants to bring back some credibility to the post of President after the innings of Pratibha Patil.

And, finally, the Congress also wants to carry on the legacy of A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, who was by far the most connected first citizen and seen as man of intellect and independence.

Meanwhile, the social magic is already casting a spell. Go to the President’s Facebook page and there are already 7,882 likes and 2,834 persons talking about him (as of August 4, 4 p.m).

(This article was published on August 4, 2012)
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