Days after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said the BJP marketed itself better, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram admitted on Sunday that the government’s top leadership could have communicated with the media and the public more often.
“I think it is a fair criticism that we have not communicated our achievements to the people. People expect communication from the top. But given the nature and the personality of our leaders at the top, they have been, if I may say, in an understated way, very media shy,” Chidambaram told The Indian Express.
Citing the example of global leaders, Chidambaram noted that US President Barack Obama appears on television at least twice or thrice a week, while British Prime Minister David Cameron appears before the media at least once a week. “If the government’s overall stance, policies and approach have to be articulated and communicated, that can only be done by the head of the government. When the Prime Minister addresses the media, he speaks for the whole government,” he said.
“The Prime Minister addressing the media is different from the Finance Minister or Home Minister or Health Minister addressing the media. It’s only occasionally that we can stray and speak about other portfolios of the government, but that is not usually done,” he said, pointing out that he has appeared before the media or a public function more often than any other Finance Minister in recent times.
When asked if the Congress leadership too did not really open up to the media, Chidambaram said, “That’s true of most political parties. Most political parties, when in government, leave communication to the government. When in opposition, it is different.”
P Vaidyanathan Iyer