New Delhi: On April 14, 2021, the Congress party is set to launch INC TV, the party’s own digital media platform on YouTube. This comes at a time when the ruling party BJP seems to have already established a strong foothold in the arena of mass media and communication. Congress party plans to directly reach out to people through the new digital platform and raise awareness on issues of social and national importance while also sharing its opinions on the programs and policies of the government.
Although there exists National Herald, the publication patronised by the Congress party alongside its leaders’ solid presence on other social media like Twitter, this new endeavour is larger perceived as a move to salvage the party’s sagging political power in the opposition and bolster its image and ideology among the masses.
Also, there is no denying the fact that social media of today is a very powerful tool that can make or mar everything. Rightfully so as the recent images of Rahul Gandhi swimming in the backwaters of Kerala got a lot more traction on social media than a number of less frivolous events happening in the country.
Interestingly, a few months ago, the Congress party had stopped participating in the various TV channel debates as the party felt that most of these debates were one-sided and opportunistic in their approach when it came to picking up the topics. It was observed that these debates were held on issues that were not only divisive in nature but were also a digression from the real problems that the nation faces as a whole.
The Congress party also alleged that these news channels were sidelining the opposition as they had slowly transformed into spokespersons for the government. For instance, in the Rafale deal controversy, Congress party leaders strongly feel that they had a strong case in which they largely remained unheard and misconstrued. Had the TV Channels provided enough space and coverage to the party, the outcome of the whole issue could probably have been different.
Rightly so, because time and again Congress party has either been left unheard or misinterpreted, owing to some of the party leaders like Kapil Sibal and Sanjay Jha who have messed up on more than one occasion, coupled with the rather indifferent attitude of the media.
With the launch of the new digital platform, the Congress party is looking to bridge the gap that has widened between the government and the Opposition or so to say between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.
Not an easy task though as the hardliners perceive Narendra Modi as a Demigod and Rahul Gandhi as a spoilt dynast. The majority of people assume that NaMo is a panacea, a cure for all; a perception the Congress party envisages to change through the new platform.
Here, it is pertinent to state that the new digital platform may not do the image reversal overnight. It is a slow and tedious process that would require due diligence and concerted efforts by all the party leaders. It is heartening to see young people like Pawan Khera and Gourav Vallabh joining the Congress brigade who show positivity and promise in their attitudes and attributes. They are knowledgeable, dynamic and eloquent with the right amount of restraint and credo in their approach.
In the end, right and effective tools are the key to communication. From attacks and counter-attacks, the strategy needs to change to approachability and accessibility. Instead of playing the blame game, Congress now should focus on an image makeover and come out as a party that has credibility and strength of character. Be it through a new digital platform or real work at the ground level, change has to be tangible and visible. only then will Congress regain its lost glory and charisma.
Amit Goel is a Consulting Editor at IndiaAhead. The views expressed are his own.