Congress’ newly appointed general secretary in-charge of communications, publicity and media, Jairam Ramesh, who has been working behind the scene for some time, has changed the communications strategy of the party, providing quick information to the media at appropriate time.
Ramesh who was appointed to lead the media department and all other wings to report him, was tipped off before the Chintan Shivir that he is going to replace Randeep Singh Surjewala, but the decision got delayed. In fact, he interacted with the media twice before. After chintan shivir, he was one of the driving force of the resolution adopted in Udaipur which was read in Hindi. It was Ramesh’s brain to address the Hindi heartland. Prior to this, Congress resolutions were read in English and then translated in Hindi.
The Congress felt strongly that the party is weak in Hindi heartland and Rahul Gandhi had also pointed it out in Udaipur, saying, “The 21st century is about communications. And that is one area where our opponents outdo us.”
The decision to appoint Ramesh was taken by Gandhis when it was flagged to them that he is a senior politician and can take the other groups along who were earlier opposed to Surjewala. Ramesh gave strong signal to the dissident camp as the first press conference at the AICC after he took over was addressed by Deepender Hooda on the issue of Agnipath. Hooda is in camp opposed to former head Randeep Surjewala.
Then it was Kanhaiya Kumar, who is a new inductee to the party and on Monday it was Ajay Maken. But what surprised many was the removal of Surjewala. When Rahul was grilled by the ED, the decision was impending but was implemented to give more voice to Congress in media. Since then Ramesh has been updating media through statements and tweets whether it’s about Sonia Gandhi’s health or Rahul’s appearance at ED or distancing from the statement by Subodh Kant Sahay on Prime Minister.
The Congress leaders who were opposed to the former chief was vying for his replacement, so a senior like Jairam Ramesh can handle the department more smoothly, a party insider said.
After the appointment, Surjewala congratulated Ramesh saying, “Congratulations to Sh. @Jairam_Ramesh on the new responsibility as General Secretary, Communications, Social Media, Digital Media, Indian National Congress. Wish him all the success and continued support.”
“You have done an outstanding job Randeep and you are a very difficult act to follow. Besides I cant step into your shoes since your shoe size is so much bigger than mine. You will remain an integral part of the communications team,” Jairam Ramesh replied back to Surjewala.
Surjewala has been retained as general secretary In-charge Karnataka, but the BJP took potshot on the communique. Amit Malviya tweeted, “Congress’ internal bickering finds its way to official communique… K.C. Venugopal, it seems, couldn’t hide his glee after Surjewala was removed as AICC incharge for Communications. He was ‘thankfully relieved’, indicating Venugopal and Surjewala do not share good equation.