Rahul Gandhi, president of the Congress Party, arrives at a news conference in New Delhi, India. Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg

Election 2019: What To Make Of The Congress’ Media Strategy

The Congress has been on a media overdrive over the last week. While Rahul Gandhi has given interviews, the party also fielded former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It hopes to change the narrative back in its favour after the recent UN resolution on Masood Azhar gave a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But with five phases of voting done, will it really make a difference?

The party’s outreach was a concerted, well-organised and a systematic campaign, Sanjay Jha, a spokesperson for the Congress, told BloombergQuint. “It is clear after four phases of elections that the BJP is losing. We wanted to further accentuate the momentum in our favour.”

An important aspect of the Congress campaign is its ‘NYAY’ scheme that proposes to guarantee a minimum income of up to Rs 72,000 a year to the poorest 20 percent of India’s families. But according to senior journalist Anita Katyal, the Congress hasn’t been able to communicate its benefits to the masses. This is largely because the Congress’ organisational strength has weakened over a period of time, she said.

NYAY is a selling point for the Congress but the cadre has not been able to take the message to the people.
Anita Katyal, Senior Journalist  

Madhavan Narayanan, a political commentator, agreed. NYAY has become the “intel inside” for the Congress, referring to the chipmaker’s marketing campaign. They have found something to go to the people with other than the “Chowkidar Chor Hai” jibes, he said. According to him, electoral voting is a socio-psychological phenomenon. It is not as if people are not concerned about national security and caste politics, he said.

People take a general view. And in that Modi has, thanks to his oratory and organisation force, an advantage.
Madhavan Narayanan, Political Commentator  

Watch the entire discussion here: