Today in New Delhi, India
Oct 18, 2018-Thursday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Rahul Gandhi meets Congress spokespersons to set new narrative to take on BJP in 2019 elections

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday met party spokespersons who contribute articles to newspapers and online publications and sought their views on constructing a social and economic narrative to counter the ruling BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

india Updated: Jul 26, 2018 23:49 IST
Rahul Gandhi,Congress spokespersons,BJP
While concerns were raised on how to counter the BJP attempts at perceived polarisation, Rahul Gandhi, on his part, reiterated that Congress leaders were free to express their views, but should desist from making any “provocative” statements, said a participant.(Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday met party spokespersons who contribute articles to newspapers and online publications and sought their views on constructing a social and economic narrative to counter the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, said three participants.

Apart from discussing the challenges before the Congress in the run-up to 2019 elections, the meeting also discussed the strategy of enhancing the party’s presence on social media and other platforms, the three participants said on condition of anonymity.

Senior leaders P Chidambaram, S Jaipal Reddy, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Anand Sharma, Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari and Jairam Ramesh were among the spokespersons-cum-columnists who attended the meeting at the Congress party’s “war room” in the national capital.

Pawan Khera, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Jaiveer Shergill were among the media panellists who took part.

While concerns were raised on how to counter the BJP attempts at perceived polarisation, Gandhi, on his part, reiterated that Congress leaders were free to express their views, but should desist from making any “provocative” statements, said the first participant.

Tharoor explained the“Hindu Pakistan” remarks he made when Rajeev Shukla mentioned that some Congress leaders make “inflammatory” comments and “hurt” the party’s image. Tharoor had said that India would turn into a “HIndu Pakistan” if the BJP is re-elected to national power next year.

At this point, the second participant cited above said, Gandhi intervened and insisted that those who cross the Congress’ line will not be defended by the party.

Some participants stressed the need to counter the kind of negative campaign on which the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections with a similar narrative, but others said the Congress should continue to focus on “positive canvassing”.

A leader said the BJP continues to raise the Bofors issue to dent the Congress party’s image.

According to the third participant, the spokespersons also were asked to not only write on issues such as the agrarian crisis, unemployment and corruption but also provide solutions and making these key talking points in the run-up to the 2019 polls.

The Rafale aircraft deal, in which Gandhi has alleged wrongdoing, also came up for discussion.

“The purpose of the interaction is to discuss challenges before the Congress party in the run-up to 2019 elections as to understand and construct a common narrative,” read the invite to the Congress spokespersons-cum-writers .

“The meeting is intended to also pool our resources for dissemination of the views through the limited space that we get in print and online publications,” it said.

For the past few weeks, Gandhi has been interacting with different sections of society. He met Muslim intellectuals on July 11 and also women journalists on July 24.

First Published: Jul 26, 2018 23:38 IST