'Family'arity breeds contempt for Cong list of spokespersons

'Family'arity breeds contempt for Cong list of spokespersons

Candidates 'chosen through talent hunt', but most are progeny of senior leaders

It runs in the family. That is how a section of upset Congress leaders has described the party's list of newly appointed spokespersons, most of whom are either children of senior leaders or those close to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

In January, the party had invited applications from "modern, liberal and progressive men and women" as part of a talent hunt to revamp its communications wing and rope in fresh faces to represent the party.

Over 500 applicants were interviewed and 46 have been chosen, including 32 who are now designated as 'spokespersons' and 14 media panelists.

Spokespersons include former Union minister M Veerappa Moily's son Harsha Moily, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy's daughter Sowmya Reddy, Industries Minister R V Deshpande's son Prashant Deshpande, former governor Margaret Alva's son Nivedith Alva, former minister D B Chandre Gowda's daughter Veena Gowda, MLC Motamma's daughter Nayna Jhawar and former legislator (late) Manchanahalli Mahadev's daughter Aiyshwarya Mahadev.

Some of them are aspiring for tickets to contest the upcoming Assembly elections.

Also, MLCs V S Ugrappa and P R Ramesh, former MP C Narayanaswamy, former women's commission chairperson Manjula Manasa among others, who are known to be close aides of Siddaramaiah, have also been roped in as spokespersons.

An AICC team led by its communications convenor Priyanka Chaturvedi had camped in the city to "screen" applicants. The new team will replace old-timers who have been representing the party in public fora. This has not gone down too well with a section of leaders.

Priyanka told DH that this was a "needless" controversy. "Everyone who has been selected, including children of party leaders, went through a process of questions-and-answers. None has come through any favouritism," she said, adding that party leaders had been taken into confidence before the new team was announced. "There could be some upset voices. But we have to keep the party's interest in mind."

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) working president Dinesh Gundu Rao also issued a statement corroborating Priyanka's stand.

According to the party, 21 out of the 46-member communications team are under the age of 40, one-third of them being women.

DH News Service

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