As the dust settles on a two-year-long election campaign that has now given the United States its first African-American president in Barack Obama, I do wonder if there is a message for Indian politicians from the messenger of change… at least from the way he ran for the White House.

Obama aka ‘the digital candidate’ left no stone unturned in the race to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. For a man who managed to draw crowds in tens of thousands wherever he spoke, Obama realized early in his campaign that his message of ‘change’ had to spread well beyond Democrats and the undecided voters. He wanted America’s youth to be on board and he ensured they did.

He reached out to them by making himself accessible online. Obama used Web 2.0 with a passion, engaging and interacting with them on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter and also used new platforms like podcasts, online video and text messages to get his message across.

So, is there a lesson there for Indian politicians, especially the younger lot led by Rahul Gandhi?

Rahul and his team of young Congress leaders like Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia are known to data-mine and number crunch to understand their support bases. Even the BJP’s Arun Jaitley is said to maintain an extensive data base of electorates and voting patterns in states and constituencies.