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13 August 2012

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to be first politician in India to have live video chat via Google+ Hangout

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By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani 

Ahmedabad: Chief Minister Narendra Modi will be the first politician in the country to have a live video chat via Google+ Hangout with people across the country, something the US prez, Australian PM and our own Aamir Khan have done before.

President Barack Obama did it with his all-digital interview from the White House that brought him directly into the homes of thousands of Americans. On Saturday morning, Julia Gillard became the first Australian Prime Minister to follow suit in an experiment in online democracy. Now, Chief Minister Narendra Modi is all set to become the first politician in India to have a live video chat with people across the country.

Like with Obama and Gillard, the video chat with the Gujarat chief minister will be conducted via Google+ Hangout, one of the prestigious ‘hangout’ Google has hosted so far on their new social media platform.

For the fans and followers of Modi, it is a chance of a lifetime for a live video chat with the leader that will be broadcast directly into the homes of lakhs across the nation and the world. While politicians are known to use social media like Twitter, Facebook and others to interact with their fans and followers, Modi will be the first to use Google+ Hangout to communicate with the masses.

In India, actor Aamir Khan has done it on his popular show Satyamev Jayate. While there have been occasions in the past where recorded questions have been answered, this digital interview gives an opportunity to political leaders to interact live with their audience.

According to a CMO official, Modi will join Google+ in the third week of August, probably August 17 that will be broadcast live by the YouTube channel.

People drawn from all walks of life, including the youth, can discuss at length on the topic, ‘Be the Youth of Swamiji’s (Swami Vivekananda) dreams’. “While people have known Narendra Modi through his speeches and through the eyes of the media, this will be their first opportunity to have an open dialogue with the leader as lakhs view it from their homes,” said Dr Hiren Joshi, officer on special duty, Chief Minister’s Office.

Those who get a chance to have a live dialogue will be screened from entries by Google+ and YouTube. From Monday, Google+ and YouTube will ask people to send in recorded questions to the channel. Entries will be screened and those chosen will have a live dialogue with the leader.
According to Joshi, Modi is popular on social networking sites, Twitter and Facebook. This will only add to his growing popularity.

For Obama, over 227,000 people submitted questions, but only five lucky Americans got to chat face-to-face with the president. Google (and YouTube) selected questions for Obama from the videos that got the most votes from YouTube users, however the video with the most votes was not included.

Obama and Gillard’s video chats were 45 minutes and 1 hour respectively, but Modi’s live chat will be around 2 hours, according to a CMO official. 

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

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