Thankfully Relieved

Well, the Congress has finally replaced Randeep Singh Surjewala as its communication head. A trusted Rahul Gandhi loyalist, Surjewala retains his clout within the party for he is a general secretary and a newly minted Rajya Sabha MP for whom a safe berth was found far away from his home state Haryana. Yet the Congress tripped in conveying its gratitude in the press release that announced his successor. Drafted by General Secretary, Organisation and Randeep’s good friend, K.C. Venugopal, the press release that announced Jairam Ramesh as the next media chief also added that Randeep had been “thankfully relieved” from his post. Rather an unfortunate turn of phrase, which was immediately picked up on social media.

JR is in the Building

The elevation of Jairam Ramesh as the party’s chief communication and social media advisor came as a surprise but it’s a choice that may work. Jairam is known for his play with words, he has been a master draftsman, penning most of Sonia Gandhi’s speeches (along with the other master draftsman, Janardhan Dwivedi). Jairam is also adept on social media and has a sizeable Twitter presence. His penchant for the last word has sometimes got him into trouble, but being Jairam, he has also managed to talk his way out and smoothen ruffled feathers. His very elevation is a testament to the fact that he remains a Sonia Gandhi favourite. One thing is for sure, Congress briefings are not going to be boring, though Jairam has taken over at a crucial time.

What next for Pawan Khera?

The elevation of Jairam Ramesh as the party’s communication chief came as a surprise, for most were expecting Pawan Khera to be elevated. Khera has indeed been the party’s most articulate voice on television debates, ably countering the BJP with reason and passion. His stint as former Delhi CM, Sheila Dikshit’s political advisor stood him in good stead at his new job. He had recently voiced his disappointment when he was not given a Rajya Sabha seat (most would agree that seat would have been better off with Khera rather than an unknown like Imran Pratapgarhi), but when that did not happen, was also quick to put his head down and get back to work. He is right there by Jairam’s side as they finalise the party strategy for the ED summons against the Gandhis. Watch this space because Pawan Khera is definitely going to go places, though the route may be a bit more circuitous than he may have wanted. But as he will be the first to shrug and say—that’s politics.