Congress rues publicity failure
A few seniors recently raised the matter before Sonia Gandhi, suggesting the party’s “constructive” role in Parliament should have been publicised better and ruing the party machinery’s inactivity.
Sources said Sonia agreed completely. She had been stressing the need for better grassroots communication while the Manmohan Singh government watched assessments of its performance get hijacked by the din around the “scams”.
At the meeting, Congress leaders told Sonia the party had failed to advertise its “exemplary” role during the first parliamentary session after the formation of the Narendra Modi government, when most of the legislative business received smooth passage.
Even during the just-concluded winter session, the Lok Sabha functioned normally while the deadlock in the Rajya Sabha owed to the Prime Minister’s refusal to reassure the nation on the threat to its secular fabric, they argued.
“The Lok Sabha worked normally till the conversion row deepened, affecting the last two days of the session,” a senior Congress leader told The Telegraph.
“In the Rajya Sabha, we worked normally after the resolution condemning the offensive remarks of minister Niranjan Jyoti, but the ruling party members and their mentors continued to vitiate the atmosphere, creating communal tension in different parts of the country. Had the Prime Minister reacted sincerely, Parliament would have functioned.”
Congress leaders responsible for execution of the party’s parliamentary strategy felt the organisational machinery should have been activated to spread this message.
“The BJP launched a campaign to misinform the people about the Congress blocking the insurance bill and other reforms initiatives. Finance minister Arun Jaitley himself led that campaign,” a Congress source said.
“But our party remained silent. The state units should have worked out a plan to counter this falsehood but nothing was done.”
There’s a feeling in the Congress that its communication department’s accomplishment in publishing a comprehensive booklet on the Modi government’s U-turns has been allowed to go waste.
“There was a news conference in Delhi, but the booklet should have been distributed among the people in the towns and villages. The state and district units should have held functions and seminars on the booklet. But nothing happened,” a party leader said.
The May election defeat had sent the Congress organisation into sleep mode. Instead of getting involved in mass contact programmes, the party waited for Rahul Gandhi to announce a big-bang revival plan.
Chalking out such programmes is the job of the general secretaries, who are supposed to ensure that the high command’s views reach the states and the districts. But the general secretaries rarely take any initiative on their own, despite many of them being part of the process to chalk out the party’s parliamentary strategy.
Nor have the state units shown the initiative of picking up hints from the high command and launching programmes on their own. Centralisation of power in the Congress has ensured that nothing moves without a shove from Delhi.
- The Telegraph, Calcutta