To streamline the partys response to day-to-day political developments and put up a united and coherent front,Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has set up a six-member quick response team.
It comprises political secretary to the Congress president Ahmed Patel,chairman of the partys media department Janardan Dwivedi,AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh,Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari,Minister of State in Prime Ministers Office V Narayansamy,party spokesman Sandeep Dikshit and Rohtak MP Deepender Singh Hooda.
Rahuls decision to set up a quick response team comes in the backdrop of increasing divergence of views being expressed by party leaders in public,causing embarrassment to the party leadership. The latest in a series of such instances was the recent episode when Dwivedi came out to rebut Digvijaya Singhs controversial two-power-centres remark.
Days after that,AICC spokesman Rashid Alvi compared Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi with Yamraj the god of death in Hindu mythology which came as a reminder of Sonia Gandhis merchant-of-death remarks that was perceived to have backfired on the Congress in 2007 Gujarat elections. Alvi was learnt to have been reprimanded by Dwivedi for exceeding his brief. The Congress high command was said to be getting increasingly worried about such developments as it not only showed the party in a poor light but also sent out wrong signals to the partys rank and file.
While Sonia Gandhi had chosen to give a long rope to party leaders,except occasionally giving tongue-lashing to some of them,Rahul has apparently opted for a different approach. It is arguably his most decisive intervention in organisational affairs. It came in the absence of Sonia,who is abroad for a medical check up.
Incidentally,Dikshit has been made in-charge of research and given the responsibility of choosing spokespersons. Congress sources said it was not clear whether Dikshit would be picking up spokespersons on a regular basis or on the basis of immediate requirements. Hooda has been given charge of the social media. He has been involved in planning the partys strategy to increase its presence on Facebook and Twitter.
The inclusion of Tewari and Narayansamy indicated Rahuls plan to ensure harmony between the government and the party in terms of their response to a given political situation.