It was mid-summer madness.
A 27-year-old divorcee from Punjab kept Ujjain police on tenterhooks for almost a week after she landed there in June to meet SP Sachin Atulkar.
The woman was clearly infatuated with the 33-year-old cop’s chiselled looks, rippling muscles and 18-inch biceps that have turned the IPS officer into a social media poster boy.
She threatened to jump off the train when the police tried to send her back to Punjab. Finally, her relatives took her away.
But before that she broke an LCD TV, an air cooler and furniture at a police station even as harried policemen tried to keep her satisfied with pizza and paneer butter masala.
She was a social media fan of the police officer. One of the 3.45 lakh fans!
Given the constraints of service conduct rules, government officers’ interaction with social media is like walking on a razor’s edge.
Yet, some have mastered the mantra of success, emerging as powerful in the virtual world as they are in real life.
The rock stars of social media do not follow a set pattern in writing their script of success. Each one has carved out an individual path for himself.
These stars of social media are as different as chalk and cheese in their personalities, background, temperament and intellectual pursuits.
Some are admired for their fight against corruption, others for their sense of humour.
Some are revered for their good looks, yet others as fitness guru.
One officer has amassed lakhs of followers due to his helpful and positive attitude.
Let us take a look at the Famous Five of MP:
Dinesh Sagar, 53, Additional DGP, MP police
Impact: 23,403 followers on Facebook and 11,688 on YouTube. His Twitter account is followed, among others, by CMO.
The 1992 batch IPS officer is a fitness guru, who often bicycles to work at his office at Police Headquarters at Bhopal. And that precisely is the reason behind the success of the motivational videos, photographs and messages that he posts on social media channels.
Posting video of his gruelling exercise regime, he recently threw fitness challenge to union minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, BJP leader Kailash Vijayargiya and cricketer Virat Kohli: “Good diet is good might.”
Gaurav Tiwari, 36, SP, Ratlam
Impact: 41,392 followers on Facebook. Videos about him attract over 15 lakh views on YouTube!
The 2010 batch IPS officer came to limelight in 2016 when he was posted as the SP of Katni district. He had busted a Rs 500 crore hawala racket, suspected to be linked to powerful politicians. He was summarily transferred, leading to a mass outpouring of support for him.
The corruption-buster has not looked back since then. Like Sagar, this police officer too goes around on a bicycle around the town, interacting with people on the way. Every video posted by the IITian gets thousands of views on FB.
Mukesh Nema, 53, Additional Commissioner, Excise, MP government
Impact: More than 4.11 lakh members of his Facebook group.
He created in 2014 what is probably today one of the most successful humour group on Facebook ‘Fursatiye’, people with leisure at their hands.
Thanks to rigid quality control that ensures robust humour, the group has amassed more than four lakh members. Unable to monitor the volume of ever-growing traffic, now Nema is assisted by 58 administrators and moderators to manage ‘Fursatiye’.
His USP is his ability to laugh at himself.
P Narahari, 43, Commissioner, Public Relations, MP government
Impact: More than 2.41 lakh followers on Facebook, over 2.72 lakh on Twitter.
The 2001 batch IAS officer is hugely popular on social media because of his motivational and positive attitude.
His accounts generate patriotic and nationalist fervour, aspiration and hope for a better tomorrow. He uses his posts to showcase government schemes besides his personal achievements.
He has used his expertise to engineer a makeover of social media profiles of the government’s property in the cyber world.
Sachin Atulkar, 33, SP, Ujjain
Impact: Over 3.45 lakh followers on Facebook. He has more than 34 lakh views on YouTube.
The 2007 batch handsome IPS officer is a fitness freak whose workout and biceps videos and photographs have become a rage among health enthusiasts.
He tries to showcase his work as policeman on his social media accounts. But his fans, many of them young ladies, would rather focus on his good looks.
When he was the SP of Sagar, parents of a 7-year-old boy came to him because the child insisted that he would eat only if he got Atulkar’s autograph!
The man in khaki obliged.
Powers That Be, my column in DB Post of 4 August 2018
Tweets @ nksexpress