Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI, 22 JULY: The two-day media workshop of Congress began today with Rahul Gandhi emphasising on the need to tone up the party’s communication strategy and to institutionalise a framework for it in all states ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
In his inaugural address, the Congress vice president said the projection of party’s image will automatically boost personal image of individual and asked leaders to focus on “positive” politics.
Mr Gandhi asked party leaders to speak in one voice and remain united. He also told them not to focus on projecting themselves as individuals but stay focused on projecting the party.
He said that the opposition’s propaganda against the government needs to be “tackled”.
Noting that the workshop will provide an opportunity for new talent to come up, Mr Gandhi advised youngsters to learn from elders’ experience.
“We have to build new India,” he said.
The workshop is some sort of a talent hunt for picking up new spokespersons for the party at the national and state level.
Besides, it aims at chalking out plans to set up communication department in states and spread the message of food security bill and “UPA’s growth story” among the electorate.
The programme is being attended by 200 young and experienced party workers including five from each state, 16 from NSUI and youth Congress besides AICC national spokespersons and media panelists.
Union ministers P Chidambaram, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh, Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari will address the key sessions during the two-day programme.
Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari will train the participants on preparing for an effective debate or press briefing.
Mr Tharoor, who was earlier Under Secretary General of UN for communication and public information, will address them through video conferencing about communication challenges in the present day media scenario.
Mr Chidambaram’s session will focus on economy, while Mr Sharma will speak on manufacturing policy on FDI.
Congress will also unveil a new platform for disseminating party’s views uniformly across the country and party spokesman Sandeep Dikshit will apprise the participants about research methodology and linkages with AICC. Mr Gandhi exhorted the participants to make full use of advanced technology in disseminating party’s achievements and views.
Noting that spokesperson’s words are taken as the party’s view, the Congress vice president asked participants to think before they speak to maintain uniformity in party’s responses on various issues.
Mr Gandhi asked them to use the social media tools on the Internet like Facebook, Twitter and Whats App for spreading the Congress ideology effectively among people including the youth and the middle class.
Maintaining that the Congress is identified with Mahatma Gandhi and his values, he said that every party worker should behave accordingly and even if opposition parties engage in negative politics, they should be restrained in their responses and show dignity towards them “in true spirit of Congress culture”.
“The import of Rahul Gandhi’s address was that the party has to be ideology driven and not individual driven,” said a young participant after the interaction.
Addressing the participants on the Food Security Bill, Union ministers Jairam Ramesh and K V Thomas and NSUI’s first President Mohangopal told them to take the message of the key UPA bill to the electorate confidently.
A number of participants asked questions related to the issue of transparency in the implementation of the bill and concerns over the Public Distribution System (PDS) system.
There was also a session on social media separately in which the need for the partymen to be efficient in using these tools was emphasised.