RAHUL SCORES SELF-GOAL
The Congress clearly needs to get its messaging in order after the goof-up over Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with the Chinese ambassador, Luo Zhaohui on 8 July. Soon after the Chinese embassy website put up a post about the meeting, journalists asked the Congress media cell for reaction. Congress leaders denied it, as did the “office of Rahul Gandhi”. Some even called it fake news. However, later they admitted to it and created a much bigger controversy than the meeting itself. Rahul tried to do damage control by tweeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture with Chinese President Xi Jinping, showing the two leaders sitting on a swing during the latter’s visit to India in 2014, commenting, “for the record I am not the guy sitting on a swing while a 1000 Chinese troops had physically entered India”. However, the edge of this attack was lost in the confusion of the way he handled his own meeting with the Chinese ambassador. Forget the Congress media department, even senior Congress leaders were caught red faced on TV, fumbling for responses. If there is anyone to blame for this, it is Rahul Gandhi himself for not briefing his team properly.
WHAT’S THE MESSAGE HERE?
After the Chinese meeting fiasco, the Congress has refurbished its media department by setting up an ideating team in addition to the media cell. This is a mixture of old and new, with the likes of P. Chidambaram, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh, along with Jyotiraditya Scindia, Rajeev Gowda and Sushmita Dev. While Aiyar and Jairam Ramesh will balance Chidambaram, for the duo are known for their socialist outlook (in fact some would even called Jairam a “poor man’s Mani Shankar” for it’s an open secret that Jairam is trying to be for Rahul, what Mani was to Rajiv Gandhi). What is interesting is also Scindia’s inclusion, for if Rahul Gandhi was sending Scindia off to Madhya Pradesh as Pradesh Congress Committee chief, would he have included him in this group, which is more headquarter-bound?
The Home Minister created quite a buzz on social media post the Amarnath attack when he tweeted that “The people of Kashmir have strongly condemned the terror attack on Amarnath Yatris. It shows the spirit of Kashmiriyat is very much alive.” This made Rajnath Singh the target of trolls, who questioned where the spirit was when Kashmiri Pandits were being targeted. Clearly, the statesman like tone of the message was lost in the din that followed. There is a part of Twitter that should be re-named anti-social media.