On May 13, Friday, controversial news outlet NDTV posted a Tweet saying that in an attempt to relaunch itself ahead of the crucial 2024 general elections, the Congress party has agreed on its much-touted “one family, one ticket” norm but with a clause that exempts the Gandhis.
NDTV, in its news report published on May 13 titled, “Congress Clears Key Reform With Loophole For Gandhis: 10 Points”, mentions that at the three-day “Chintan Shivir” or introspection in Rajasthan’s Udaipur beginning Friday, the Congress agreed that a “‘One Family, One Ticket’ rule will return with a rider that exempts the Gandhis.”
“On the “One Family, One Ticket” rule, which bars more than one person from a family from contesting elections, the Congress has hinted in advance that this may spare the Gandhis – Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra,” says the NDTV report.
It further quotes the Congress leader Ajay Maken as saying when asked whether the Gandhis are exempted, “There is unanimity on this rule. If family members still want to contest them they should have been active for five years. They are active for the last five years. Priyanka Gandhi started working formally for the party in 2018.”
The media outlet thereby concluded that the rule’s rider, which allows all three Gandhis to contest, indicates a loophole, reinforcing critics’ claims that the party will make just cosmetic changes at a time when a major revamp is needed.
Following NDTV’s Tweet, Congress and the party loyalists launched a scathing attack on the media outlet accusing it of spreading fake news. Youth Congress national president Srinivas BV, who himself has been caught umpteen number of times peddling fake news and unverified claims to target the Modi government, called it fake news, clarifying that the rule is applicable for everyone in the party, not just the Gandhi family. He wrote, “Fake News Alert 📢. “Second member of a family can be considered for a party ticket only if he or she has already put in at least five years of work in the party’s organisational work”. The rule is applicable to everyone in the Party.”
Fake News Alert 📢— Srinivas BV (@srinivasiyc) May 13, 2022
“Second member of a family can be considered for a party ticket only if he or she has already put in at least five years of work in the party’s organisational work”
The rule is applicable to everyone in the Party.
Twitter handle @bole_bharat, which identifies itself as a ‘Fan of Congress’, slammed NDTV by referring to it as a ‘propaganda factory’. It Tweeted, “NDTV – The Propaganda factory. Congress leader @ajaymaken didn’t mention anything about Gandhi family while take about ‘One Family One ticket’ rule. The rule is applicable for all.”
NDTV – The Propaganda factory.— Bole Bharat (@bole_bharat) May 13, 2022
Congress leader @ajaymaken didn’t mention anything about Gandhi family while take about ‘One Family One ticket’ rule.
The rule is applicable for all pic.twitter.com/fiV6NXwsMl
Many other Congress loyalists also followed suit. They took to the microblogging site Twitter to call out the media outlet for propagating fake news.
Fake News Alert 📢— Nitin Agarwal (@nitinagarwalINC) May 13, 2022
NDTV is the official Mouth piece of BJP’s B Team AAP,
Stop spreading fake news, stop being the spokesperson of AAP & BJP. https://t.co/pS16NskzjA
.@CBhattacharji as an Editor it’s your responsibility to check and verify statements that are being reported by your channel. A misleading claim has been shared by your channel and even after being called out by several persons it’s not deleted or rectified. https://t.co/9AslF2YZLN— Aditya Goswami (@AdityaGoswami_) May 13, 2022
The Congress members clarified that Congress leader Ajay Maken, in his address to the media, at no point in time named the Gandhi family and that the rule is applicable to everyone in the Party.
The Congress party has shared the video of the special Congress briefing on the discussions the party had during the three-day “Chintan Shivir” in Udaipur, and it appears that NDTV did misquote the party on the issue.
At around 11.30 minutes into the video, AICC general secretary Ajay Maken is heard saying that while the Shivir is keen to have the ‘One Family One ticket’ norm in place, an aspiring “second member of a family can be considered for a party ticket only if he or she has already put in at least five years work in the party’s organisational work”.
Although this rule technically qualifies all three Gandhi scions to run for office, it is also true that Ajay Maken did not mention the Gandhi scions during the briefing. Moreover, this rule will be applicable for all members of the party. It is evident that the information provided by NDTV is clearly based on assumptions.
As the Congress begins its three-day brainstorming session Nav Sankalp Shivir in Udaipur on Friday, the party announced that “major changes” are coming to the organisation, including 50% representation for persons under 50 at all levels, starting with the Congress Working Committee (CWC).
Prior to the meeting, Maken said the aim of the Shivir is to change the way Congress functions as an organisation. “We are going to make some big changes in the organisation,” he said, adding that the party’s opponents have been faster than the Congress in catching up with the new tools of democracy. “Now the party will use the new tools of democracy more efficiently.”