The Congress is planning a high-pitch media blitzkrieg in the run up to the assembly and general elections on the twin agenda of governance and development as opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s decision to push for Hindutva. Renu Mittal reports
For two days, more than 100 Congress spokespersons from all over the country will meet in Delhi on July 22 and 23 where they will brainstorm and will be briefed on two key issues -- the food security ordinance and the economic development of the country in the last nine years under the United Progressive Alliance, the growth in development and infrastructure and the future ahead.
While Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will address the inaugural session at Vigyan Bhawan in the morning, the workshop will then shift to the constitution club. Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram will brief the spokesmen from across the country on the economic development in the country so as to give the assembled persons strong talking points which can be carried to the people on how the government has done in terms of building roads, airports, infrastructure, highways, the flowing in of FDI, the economic model of India and how to counter the charges on rising inflation, the falling rupee and how the various classes in the country have benefited under the UPA regime as opposed to the state of the economy under the National Democratic Alliance.
The second topic of food security which is being used by the Congress as a big ticket achievement in giving food for all, would be handled by Union Food minister K V Thomas, Jairam Ramesh and Dr Mohan Gopal.
The All India Congress Committee had recently sent its spokespersons in all the states to talk of the food security initiative and the party has claimed it has achieved great success in ensuring that the message of the food bill percolates right down to the grass root level.
The Congress is also keen to raise the food security pitch to ensure that political parties would find it difficult to oppose the food security bill when the ordinance comes up for approval in the monsoon session of Parliament.
The party is also working on establishing linkages between the AICC at the Centre and the states to ensure they follow the same high standards by making their press releases research based and be able to reach out to the people through the social networking sites, which is another key area the congress is focusing on.
So while Congress Member of Parliament and spokesman Sandeep Dixit would be focusing on telling the delegates about the research work his team is doing Deepender Singh Hooda would speak on the social networking sites which the party is looking at.
During the workshop which will be attended by 36 spokespersons of the party, five spokesmen from each state and 15 from the National Students' Union of India and 15 from the youth Congress, the Congress leaders say they are going to create a platform for research work and through this dissemination of information.
The details of this would be worked out. The AICC would also use this workshop to forge alliances with spokespersons from the states and ensure dissemination from the centre to the states and vice versa. The idea is to ensure that the AICC communications department is replicated at the states.
And keeping in mind the growing clout and importance of the electronic media, Union I&B Minister Manish Tewari would hold a session on being prepared to face and to handle the electronic media by Congress party spokespersons and what are the issues to be kept in mind and how to face the television and their aggressive reportage.
Keeping Rahul’s need to groom the youth and the young for future party assignments, those chosen are 55 or less in age with preferably a background of youth Congress and NSUI with some exceptions if they are brilliant. No professionals from outside the political spectrum have been invited to the workshop which is expected to be a regular calendar under the new AICC Chairman for Communications Ajay Maken who has taken the initiative for this workshop.
Maken said, “The idea is that party spokespersons from across the country should speak in one voice on national and state issues and learn from each other. We in the Congress have our own success story to tell in terms of what we have done for the people and the country in governance and development since the UPA came to power in 2004, and we want the people to know the details of this success story and that is what we are trying to do”.