Cong to crowd-source talent to improve urban image

Cong to crowd-source talent to improve urban image

Bengaluru: The Congress has come up with a new strategy to improve its urban image by crowd-sourcing youngsters to become the party's voice.    

In a first, the Congress' central leadership has invited applications from "modern, liberal and progressive men and women" to join the party's communications department in Karnataka. This is part of a nationwide talent hunt to induct fresh faces into the party's fold. The high command has chosen poll-bound Karnataka for the launch of this exercise.

"We are concerned that the party's urban image is taking a beating, especially in Karnataka," said an AICC communications team member who did not wish to be named.

A team led by AICC communications convenor Priyanka Chaturvedi will arrive in Bengaluru to screen applicants over three days starting January 8.  Nearly 177 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka are dubbed as rural. The remaining Assembly segments are urban, considered as BJP strongholds. Bengaluru, for instance, has 28 Assembly segments of which the BJP holds 13, Congress 12 and the JD(S) three.  

"The underlying idea is to attract fresh talent, including people not directly connected to the political setup, yet connected with the political ideology of the Congress," AICC communications chief Randeep S Surjewala said.

Anywhere between 12-20 persons will be roped in as the party's spokespersons in Karnataka. "Anybody can come forward. We will have a chat with them and see how they can be roped in. They can also become volunteers and content generators," Surjewala said.  

The party tried this out in the run up to the recent Gujarat Assembly polls, where the Congress ended up improving its tally. "But, what we did there was loose and broad-based. It wasn't an institutional, open-to-public exercise as being done now," Surjewala said, adding that the party would take up a similar 'talent hunt' in Rajasthan as well.

The revamp of the party's communications set up is also aimed at taking on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

That the party has resorted to crowd-sourcing spokespersons could be an indication that the central leadership is not happy with the way the existing setup is functioning. KPCC working president Dinesh Gundu Rao, however, disagreed. "Well, there are minor problems. But, there is a realisation that we have failed to properly identify people, both within the party and outside, who can be made Congress spokespersons," he said.

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