After Gujarat, Congress ups its communication game in poll-bound states

Rahul Gandhi interacting with farmers
Rahul Gandhi interacting with farmers and Congress workers in Amethi/ Twitter

The party has already started working on its social media strategy for Karnataka, Rajasthan and MP, and will soon begin work on other poll-bound states.

New Delhi: After its fighting electoral performance in Gujarat, the Congress is developing a new communication strategy for assembly polls due to be held this year.

The party’s social media campaign created a lot of buzz in Gujarat with its focus on themes and issues, including tag lines such as ‘vikas gando thayo chhe’ (development has gone mad).

Now, the party’s communications team, featuring the likes of Randeep Singh Surjewala, Shashi Tharoor and Sam Pitroda, is planning a unique strategy for each of the poll-bound states, starting with Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Plans for Karnataka

Karnataka is expected to go to the polls in April, and the Congress is putting special emphasis on it, since it is the last remaining large state that it is in power. If the party fails to retain it in the face of a BJP onslaught, it could leave a big impact on its hopes for the 2019 general elections.

“Our campaign in Karnataka will be focused around the anti-incumbency of the central government,” said a senior leader involved in planning the campaign. “We will also highlight Indira canteens and farmer welfare policies taken up by the state government.”

For the first time, the party has invited the general public to join the Congress communications team in Karnataka through social media. “Indian National Congress Communication Dept is looking for modern, liberal and progressive men/women to join our communication team in Karnataka and be our voice,” reads the social media advert posted by the party.

Spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi has been assigned to handle the communication team in Karnataka, and will provide a short training course to all the volunteers. She has also been asked to look for the right people who can voice Congress opinions.

Plan for Rajasthan and MP

Similarly, in Rajasthan, the Congress is looking to use two layers of anti-incumbency to its advantage, since the BJP is in power at the Centre and in the state.

Pranav Jha, Congress national media secretary, has been given responsibility to strengthen its communication and social media presence in Rajasthan.

The first meeting regarding the communication strategy is to take place this week in Jaipur, in the presence of state Congress president Sachin Pilot and other senior leaders.

In Madhya Pradesh, a social media team has already been set up by senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia a few months ago. However, a leader from the Congress’s central communication team will take charge soon to make it a focused campaign.

Like Karnataka, the party is also looking to recruit volunteers through social media for Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

“We are working on other states such as Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura too, which are to hold elections in 2018,” said a senior party leader.

“We will announce names of the leaders who will work on the communication strategy for these states in a week.”

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