National

Cong to focus more on media campaigns

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 28, 2014 Published on January 28, 2014

Opposition unhappy with the party’s media blitz

The defeat in the Assembly elections has triggered a change in the media strategy of the Congress. Party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi himself has taken the lead to ‘change’ the media image of the party. Senior Ministers and leaders will now brief the media on a daily basis to defend the party’s stand on various issues.

More responsibilities

The interview given by Rahul Gandhi to a private channel was also part of this effort by the Congress to change its image ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. “Rahul ji was focusing on building organisation. After the Chintan Shivir in Jaipur, there was a clamour within the party that he must take up more serious works. Leaders had also demanded that he should clarify his position on wide ranging issues. This interview is an indication of Rahul Gandhi taking larger responsibilities,” a Congress spokesperson said.

Spokespersons

Senior Ministers P. Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, were made senior spokespersons recently along with party General Secretary, Mukul Wasnik. Ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia and Shashi Tharoor have also become party spokespersons. The Congress has also increased the number of press briefings in a week and changed the timing of routine briefings, which will now be ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Professional agencies were appointed to launch an advertising campaign for the party.

Media cell

The party’s media cell, under General Secretary Ajay Maken, has been asking the leadership for more senior leaders to face the media. The media cell is making all efforts to engage the party in media and social media debates.

“The effort is to counter the onslaught of pro-Sangh Parivar campaigns in the media and Internet,” the spokesperson said adding that Rahul Gandhi himself had interacted with spokespersons from various States at a workshop held in Delhi a couple of months ago.

“There will be more such interactions to bridge the gap between spokespersons and leadership, which was apparent,” he added.

The Opposition, however, is not impressed with the Congress media blitz.

“The party had a few days ago denied that it has earmarked a huge sum of money for image management of Rahul Gandhi. It now appears that the denial was a phony one. Can an image be built up merely by advertising which is not commensurate with the performance of the candidate sought to be projected? There are leaders who appear good only when the going is good. In an adverse situation they collapse like a house of cards. Advertising can market a marketable product, not otherwise,” said BJP leader Arun Jaitley in an article in his blog.

Published on January 28, 2014
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