One lakh and counting
Less than a week after its launch, the ‘Rajini Mandram’ mobile app, launched by Tamil film actor Rajinikanth to kick-start his political career has been downloaded by over a lakh users. This is in contrast to the apps launched by senior politicians such as DMK leaders M. Karunanidhi and M.K. Stalin, PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss and DMDK founder Vijayakant.
While Mr. Anbumani’s For Change app, which he launched when he projected himself as the Chief Ministerial candidate in 2016, has been downloaded by about 50,000 users, most other apps of politicians have found acceptance among 10,000 or fewer mobile phone users. ASK, an app launched recently by actor-politician R. Sarathkumar, who is also keen on projecting himself as an alternative leader, has seen about a thousand downloads.
Aspiring politician and leading actor Kamal Haasan too had indicated that he will formally launch his app maiam whistle in January.
Does the popularity of Mr. Rajinikanth’s app indicate that traditional politicians have failed to tap technology to reach a larger audience or have not found acceptance from the tech savvy people?
Mr. Palanivel Thiagarajan of the DMK, and MLA from Madurai Central who heads the party’s Information Technology cell, acknowledges that having an app helps in two-way communication, monitoring responsiveness, identify who is an active supporter, analyse trends among other things. “But the most important thing is it helps us get feedback,” he says.
Mr. Anbumani agrees that with more than two crore households in Tamil Nadu with a smart phone, the app helps politicians reach citizens easily.
According to Mr. Ramadoss, the app also helps in communicating directly with the users.
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