London: Rishi Saha, an Indian-origin internet expert who devised the “Pimp My Party” online game, has been made head of new media in Prime Minister David Cameron’s government.
Saha, a former Conservative candidate from Brent South, England, is one of a growing number of members of Cameron’s inner circle to get important posts at 10 Downing Street, Daily Mail reported.
Saha, 30, is “head of new media” with control over its website and other internet projects. He will take home 50,000 pounds-a-year.
Saha’s role revelation comes close on the heels of a controversy over the appointment of Andrew Parsons as Cameron’s “vanity photographer” – a proposal first revealed by the Daily Mail on Sunday in June.
The ever-expanding “Cameron clique” at Downing Street and the Cabinet Office has led to mounting criticism from Labour and, privately, from some Tory MPs who say the Camerons are falling into the same trap as the image-fixated Blairs, the media report said.
Saha is a protege of Cameron’s image guru Steve Hilton. Hilton and Saha drove the campaign to ditch the Tories’ old-fashioned style.
Saha, who has a shaven head and likes wearing designer jackets, is said to model himself on Hilton.
A Tory spokesman defended the appointments, saying: “All governments do this. These people have worked for the party and do invaluable work for the government. Rishi Saha is an invaluable member of the team.”
Saha was director of the “Wave” network of young Tories, entering politics after working for youth charities.
He once promoted hip-hop nights at clubs in Nottingham and transformed the Tory Winter Ball. He moved its venue from the staid Grosvenor House hotel on London’s Park Lane to Old Billingsgate, promoting it with the slogan “So hip it hurts”.
Saha stood for the Tories in Brent South in the 2005 general election, coming third in a seat won easily by Labour.
His projects include the “Pimp My Party” online game, a parody of the MTV show “Pimp My Ride”.
It presented the pre-Cameron Tory Party as a “clapped-out old banger” and challenged activists to update its image.
Saha was quoted as saying of the game: “Young people do not give a stuff. They are not interested in politics. This is kind of fun and wacky and left-field so it gets people interested.”