We were caught unawares by Anna stir: Khurshid

Salman Khurshid said that efforts are on to look into the ways to use the social media to convey government`s view point.

New Delhi: Criticised for its handling of Jan Lokpal movement by Anna Hazare, government on Tuesday for the first time admitted it was caught "unaware" on the changes the
campaign brought around in the society through use of the social media.

However, after this experience, efforts are on to look into the ways to use the social media to convey government`s view point, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said, adding it was
difficult for those in power to do so as compared to ones outside it.

"We were caught a little bit unaware because it was a
remarkable combination of traditional politics and not
conventional with modern practices. We were frankly at a
disadvantage because we did not use the social media as
effectively as Anna`s movement did," he said in an interaction
with the members of Indian Women`s Press Corps here.

The government could not use the social media like
Facebook, SMSes and e-mails to project its views before the
people during Hazare`s campaign which used the tool to its
advantage, he said.

"I am sure my colleagues are looking at it," he said when
asked if the government had learnt lessons on the use of the
social media.

"But it is a little more difficult to do that, not
impossible, because you can get away with a lot more
flexibility in what you say and the views you express if you
are outside government," he said.

However, Khurshid was very caustic in his remarks when he
said Team Anna was not taking credit for pushing for Lokpal
bill but for all other things, including Congress` defeat in
Hisar Lok Sabha bypoll.

Noting that one particular issue cannot be a decisive
factor for results in any election, Khurshid said if anybody
thought so they will be "mistaken".

Asked about Team Anna`s claim they were responsible for
the defeat of Congress in Hisar, he said "I don`t think that
is a very sensible and useful way of taking the movement

He also maintained that in politics "you lose some, you
win some. The minister said "I will give him (Hazare) credit where
it is due....But it is strange that they are not taking credit
for the movement (against corruption)."

Reiterating government`s commitment to bring in strong
and effective Lokpal bill in the winter session of Parliament,
Khurshid said "we are not doing so because it is good for soul
but because it is expected of democracy."

He also criticised members of Team Anna for making
assumptions that government`s decision to make Lokpal a
constitutional body was a delaying tactics. "They could have
simply asked us if it would delay it (bill) but till date
nobody has asked us this," he said.


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