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‘Embarrassed’ Delhi BJP to handpick TV debate panellists

The BJP took the decision after the leadership observed that party members failed to counter those from the opposition as well as fellow panelists in an effective manner.

delhi Updated: Sep 02, 2018 01:23 IST
Parvez Sultan
Parvez Sultan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BJP,Delhi BJP,TV debates
An in-house panel will also provide support material to leaders participating in debates to put forth the BJP’s stand.(AFP FILE PHOTO)

Irked by leaders causing an ‘embarrassment’ to the party by attending televised debates without preparation, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi has set up a three-member panel to pick a spokesperson to be sent to news channels as an ‘expert panellist’.

A senior Delhi BJP functionary, privy to the development, said the decision was taken after the leadership observed that party members fail to counter those from the opposition as well as co-participants in an effective manner. “The team will nominate a spokesperson according to the subject of the debate. The panellists will be told to focus more on highlighting the achievements of the government. They are being advised not to speak on national issues without prior sanction by higher-ups,” he said.

The Delhi BJP has eight spokespersons. It’s social media and IT cell in-charge Pratyush Kant, media relations head Neelkant Bakshi and spokesperson Ashok Goel have been appointed as members of the team. Goel will serve as the team’s convener.

“The party will write to all media houses about the new system. They will be advised to contact the designated members of the panel for requests seeking presence of party representatives in news channel programmes,” another Delhi BJP leader, aware of the development, said. He said the party has decided to authorise Rajiv Babbar, vice president, Delhi BJP, to speak on all issues related to the party.

The panel will also do research and provide support material to leaders participating in debates to put forth the party’s stand, an officer bearer of the Delhi BJP said. “The central leadership, including party chief Amit Shah, has conveyed displeasure over the dismal performance of spokespersons as TV panellists. It has been found that they unnecessarily get into national issues. They should have been highlighting various achievements of the NDA government,” the leader said.

First Published: Sep 02, 2018 01:23 IST