With his job as the Congress party’s campaign chief cut out, Rahul Gandhi is going about setting his house in order in frenzied moves. He has not only pressed senior Cabinet ministers like P Chidambaram, Anand Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Salman Khurshid for party duty as spokespersons, he’s enrolled anyone who’s shown some spunk as a talking head to speak for the grand old party.
Be it Shashi Tharoor, yet to be out of an unseemly controversy over his wife Sunanda’s curious death, or Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was caught in a CD scandal in 2012, they are all there on the Congress panel of “spokespersons”. While articulate-and-scholarly Tharoor makes his debut, legal eagle Singhvi makes a comeback.
The tough elections must be the trigger. Rahul has kept all other considerations aside and dropped 12 spokespersons in the process. Instead, from senior leaders to junior functionaries, 67 talking heads have been asked to be on duty from next week onwards. The party’s media cell head Ajay Maken will set the roster.
Even senior party general secretaries like Mukul Wasnik and Shakeel Ahmed, who’re in-charge of big states and double up as screening committee members for candidate selection, have been called in as party spokespersons.
So are two women leaders — former UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Mahila Congress chief Shobha Oza. Both have felicity in Hindi and ability to articulate the party’s views forcefully. After a long while, the Congress party will have two women spokespersons.
Earlier, Jayanthi Natarajan was replaced by Renuka Choudhary after the former had joined the Cabinet. Though neither of them is in the government now, they have been kept out.