Congress cannot win public discourse without credible voices

Congress leaders need a crash course in media interaction. Not just that. They need to be trained to talk the right thing at the right time, rather than talking out of turn they so often do.

They should know that comparing Arvind Kejriwal with Rakhi Sawant isn’t funny. Nor is there any need to elaborate on issues that are still under the government’s consideration and entail constitutional amendments the UPA is incapable of securing of its own.

The lure of the camera can be irresistible. But genius lies in exploiting the power of the moving picture, not falling prey to it, as has been the wont of Congressmen who at times speak for the heck of it. It’s another matter that

BJP leaders are smitten as much by Rakhi Sawant’s raw appeal.

It isn’t easy even in normal times to be an effective spokesperson. The job requires facility with the language, a sense of history and ability to think on one’s feet. Not many Congressmen measure up to the challenge. And those who are have other loftier ambitions.

In recent years the BJP’s strategy has been to target besides the Congress’s frontline leadership, a few young and upcoming leaders: Abhishek Singhvi, Shashi Tharoor, and Manish Tiwari. Among those under fire in the former category were P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal. They’ve without exception been berated or character assassinated.

Some among them were indiscreet, careless with their language or simply victims of the Opposition’s ability to create smoke to insinuate fire. As a consequence, reputations were sullied and adversaries emboldened to take pot shots at the PM, the Congress president and Rahul Gandhi. The party got clobbered further in the perceptional war when an aggressive civil society showed it as being hand-in-glove with realtors and other business interests.

Rather than countering the onslaught with cogent ripostes, the Congress spoke in too many voices through too many leaders. The result: heightened public distrust compounded by lingering doubts.

Not surprising therefore that Congress’s media managers came in for sharp criticism at its intra-party dialogue at Surajkund. Things wouldn’t change if the party persists with faces caricatured in the media. A model for emulation was presented by its own Jaipal Reddy. Though sulking, he was a study in composed erudition while before cameras after his controversial removal from the Petroleum Ministry.

Glib talking isn’t enough to be a credible spokesperson. Personal integrity counts for more. Far more!

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