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UP Congress holds exam for spokespersons, asks them to list Modi govt failures

The exam is being viewed as an attempt to introduce professionalism and bring about a change in Congress’ culture.

lucknow Updated: Jun 29, 2018 17:11 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee,UPCC,Manmohan Singh government
Aspiring states spokespersons of the UP Congress Committee appeared for an and an interview at the UPCC headquarters. (Representative Image/AP Photo)

A unique experiment began at the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) headquarters, which was on Thursday, turned into a makeshift examination centre for partymen aspiring to work as its state spokespersons.

Viewed as an attempt to introduce professionalism and bring about a change in the party’s culture, the experiment assumes significance as it comes when the UPCC is constituting a new team to gear up the party for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

‘Write failures of Yogi Adityanath government, list failures of Modi government and list achievements of Manmohan Singh government. How many division, districts and blocks are there in UP,’ were some of the questions.

Other questions were about the seats the Congress won in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections, percentage of Congress’ votes in 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 assembly elections.

About 70 party leaders, including 35 who had been working as spokesmen, panellists or in other capacities in the UPCC’s media department took part in the exam. The UPCC president Raj Babbar had recently dissolved department to pave way for revamp in party.

They were also asked to write about the three main news stories in Thursday’s newspapers needing party’s reaction and the main functions of a party spokesperson.

“We had about 30 minutes to answer nearly 14 questions. Examinees were allowed to use internet and do Google search for correct answers,” said a party functionary. This is not all. After taking examination, the party members had to appear for an interview panel that comprised All India Congress Committee spokespersons Priyanka Chaturvedi and Rohan Gupta.

“Congress president Rahul Gandhi wants that only the leaders well versed about the party’s policies and who know the state well and can boldly speak on the issues should be allowed to function as spokesperson. A beginning in this direction has been already made in other states and more will follow this system in coming days,” said another party leader.

Will the experiment work? Most of those who took the examination appeared optimistic. Some of them, however, questioned the move, saying the party’s previous experiments like selection of candidates through voting or introducing elections in Indian Youth Congress have failed to make much difference in Uttar Pradesh.

Replying to a question, Chaturvedi, however, said no interviews had been conducted on Thursday. “We are only holding discussions with the party men as we believe that those aspiring to become spokesperson should be well aware of the state and the prevailing issues.”

First Published: Jun 29, 2018 13:35 IST