Saturday 22 October 2016

Congress Absolves Rahul, Blames Media for Lok Sabha Debacle

New Delhi
File - Photo by Jitender Gupta

Media was "one of the contributory factors" for the Congress debacle in the Lok Sabha polls as its entire focus was one person, party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad today said.

His remarks came a day after the high-level panel headed by A K Antony that probed the reasons for Congress' poll debacle submitted its report to party chief Sonia Gandhi.

Sources indicate the report talks about the alleged "manipulation of media coverage by the BJP, the lacunae in Congress campaign vis-a-vis the blitzkrieg of Narendra Modi's election campaign and organisational weaknesses" of the party besides issues related to election funding of candidates and the need to tone up campaign plans.

Replying to a question as to how can the media be blamed for the defeat of Congress, Azad said, "That is one of the contributory factors. I must say in the past, so many times I was witness to that."

Noting that media is a very important component of democracy and assimilation and dissemination of information lie with it particularly the electronic media, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said that whenever he used to have press conferences as a minister even for an hour, not a minute of it was telecast.

"This time, the focus of the media was on one person," he said, without naming anyone.

Antony, who headed the four-member committee, dismissed reports that there was a question mark on the leadership of Rahul Gandhi after the elections and that the committee has suggested something like that.

He said that the "reasons for the Congress defeat were something else." However, he did not elaborate as to what conclusions the panel has arrived at for the worst-ever defeat of Congress.

"I do not want to go into details. I will not reveal the details... I do not want to say anything about the content of the report," was his brief response to questions like whether his panel has faulted the communication strategy of the party or blamed the way media reported during Lok Sabha polls.

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