As Congress party seems busy looking for scapegoats to shift the blame from the Gandhi family post their humiliating defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a set of new reports are emerging pointing fingers directly towards Congress President Rahul Gandhi for failure to act on the advice given to him by senior leaders to re-strategise his campaign beyond data analytics.
According to Congress-friendly journalist Pallavi Ghosh, a senior editor with CNNNews18, the Congress party’s over-reliance on data and failure of its leadership to read the ground reality relayed by a section of party leaders has cost the party dearly in the Lok Sabha polls.
An article by Pallavi Ghosh on News18.com says that a set of emails exchanged between election managers of the Congress party has been ‘accessed’ by CNN-News18, which indicates that the Congress party leadership was informed of the ‘wave for the BJP in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.’ The communication also sought remedial and corrective tweaks in the party strategy ahead of polling.
Reportedly, a few party insiders had flagged certain issues with the Congress leadership which could trigger a complete rout for the party and its allies in the Hindi heartland, but no action was taken on the advice. A key insider sent an email to Rahul Gandhi, saying Pulwama terror attack would be a major game changer and could wipe out the Congress in the Hindi heartland if the party didn’t react to it with something soon.
An email sent to Gandhi on February 16 said, “This is an opportunity for Congress to mobilise its workforce on the ground and ensure that there are ground-level activities like public drives.”
During these communications, they had also warned that “not much would help if people would start believing that change in the government would not be judicious at the time of national terror attack and armed conflict. Instead of just verbally countering them, a smarter strategy would be to showcase to the people that the Congress cares for soldiers more than the BJP.”
Out of the 145 rallies held by Gandhi, only eight rallies made any reference to national security. And of the eight press conferences Gandhi held, only in a single briefing did he mention the Pulwama attack, and that also to express condolences.
According to the communique, the Rafale issue has been one of the major points of the party’s campaign strategy, which failed to make any mark during the run-up to the polls. The senior leaders had adviced the party to set up camps, go to the border, set up a team of volunteers to be assertive about national security issues, but nothing was followed.
Instead, the party relied heavily on feedback by Data Analytics and Operation Shakti, a flagship mass contact programme with a technological interface. On November 26 last year, the first email was sent based on work done by the Shakti app from September to November.
“However, the total YouTube views for the http://bit.ly/MODI-DISASTER is only 20,000. It means that most people are not even seeing the videos despite them receiving the SMS and clicking on the links. We spent a total of Rs 18,45,019 on this campaign. Out of which Rs 6,63,742 was spent on undelivered messages. The message was sent to 5,97,739 Shakti users in Rajasthan at a rate of Rs 0.07 (7 paise) per SMS. In Hindi, 60 characters count as 1 SMS and the following message would require 5 SMSs (274 characters). We spent Rs 2,09,208 (Two lakh, nine thousand, two hundred eight),” read the email according to the report.
However, Praveen Chakravarty, the head of data analytics of the Congress party, who is now caught in the eye of the storm, said, “…all political parties communicate with voters and workers through SMS, IVR (integrated voice response), WhatsApp and other mediums as relevant. It is nonsensical to claim post facto that SMS communication is a wasted effort.”
As defeat in the Lok Sabha election has begun to engulf the Congress party, the old and the new guards of the Congress party have blamed each other for the humiliating defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Praveen Chakravarthy, a close aide of Rahul Gandhi has become the newest ‘whipping boy‘ for the Congress leadership to keep the Gandhi Parivar away from facing any criticism.
Also, it is interesting to note that instead of realising their mistake and analysing the actual causes of the people’s disenchantment with the Congress, the party, or its senior leadership continues to play the blame game. The excuses are even contradictory in nature. Earlier, Priyanka Gandhi had expressed that Congress lost because ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ was not said and repeated loudly enough. Indicating that Congress ‘underplayed’ the ‘Rafale Scam’ angle.
This recent article which claims ‘Rahul did not listen to senior leaders’ gives notions that some ‘senior leaders’ think ‘Rafale scam’ allegations were a mistake. Blaming their data analytics advisor or their social media head, claiming the president did not listen to senior leaders are mere excuses, excuses to ignore the actual issues, the glaring blunders and fallacies that are crumbling the grand old party from within. The very claim that there was a ‘wave’ for BJP after Pulwama attack, reveals that the senior leadership is still unwilling to see the glaring truth before them.
Congress has a formidable hold over mainstream media narrative and it may keep peddling or planting such excuses, but the public is no longer at the mercy of wine sipping loyals of mainstream media. It is a different game now, Congress will continue sinking faster and faster if it does not realise that.