Perception management and preparations for the next Lok Sabha polls by the both the Congress and the government came in for a sharp attack at the party’s day-long dialogue session in Surajkund on Friday.
For months now, the party has been fighting a perception battle over allegations of corruption. The attack at the closed-door meeting of Congress ministers and functionaries was led by new parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath. Defence minister AK Antony and senior leader RK Dhawan also expressed their concerns over the lackluster counter campaign.
Nath said the “minimal” perception management was restricted to the urban media only while no effort was made to reach out to the rural media.
He then raised the issue of opposition governments taking credit for the UPA’s flagship programmes and ruffled many feathers by saying some Congress ministers were generous in praising the states ruled by the Opposition parties as far as implementation of social welfare schemes were concerned.
Nath also pointed out to the changing voting pattern in the country, arguing that the Congress had failed to retain its traditional votebank of tribals and other communities.
On his part, Antony called for better counter offensive against the opposition onslaught and lamented weak defence of the party and the government.
Dhawan said many leaders appear on TV unprepared.
Finance minister P Chidambaram spoke about how files were getting stuck in the environment ministry despite nod by finance and home ministries. Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan disputed it.