Class on na­tion­al­ism for Cong work­ers

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Su­bodh.Ghildiyal @times­group.com

New Delhi: While some will see it as a much-de­layed at­tempt to set the ship right, others will call it a leaf out of the saf­fron playbook. But the fact is that Con­gress’s planned train­ing mod­ule for work­ers across the coun­try may fo­cus on is­sues on which the party has fum­bled af­ter the ad­vent of Naren­dra Modi as the BJP helms­man.

Top Con­gress sources said that the train­ing course would fo­cus on im­por­tant sub­jects to pre­pare work­ers for their po­lit­i­cal task, prom­i­nent among which would be ‘na­tion­al­ism’, ‘com­mu­ni­ca­tion’ and ‘cam­paign’. The em­pha­sis is likely to be on the “na­tion­al­ist cre­den­tials” of Con­gress which spear­headed the free­dom strug­gle, its sub­se­quent record as the rul­ing party and how “pseudo-na­tion­al­ism of BJP has to be ex­posed”.

The work­ers would also be taught about the new mech­a­nisms of elec­tion cam­paign. “How to con­duct poll cam­paign will be a key is­sue of train­ing,” a senior AICC of­fice-bearer said.

Be­sides, the party will strongly em­pha­sise on com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools and strat­egy in con­tem­po­rary times, and the im­por­tance of con­nect­ing with vot­ers on burn­ing is­sues on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

In the process of draft­ing a mod­ule, Con­gress plans to “in­sti­tu­tion­alise” work­ers’ train­ing by mak­ing it a round-the-year af­fair for cadres and of­fice-bear­ers at ev­ery rung of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. Train­ing was among the top agenda in the re­cent brain­storm­ing be­tween Con­gress pres­i­dent So­nia Gandhi and state unit chiefs and leg­is­la­ture party lead­ers, be­sides AICC state in-charges.

Con­gress’s fo­cus ap­pears to be on a strat­egy to undo the po­lit­i­cal dam­age wrought by BJP’s suc­cess in in­sert­ing ‘na­tion­al­ism’ in the pop­u­lar dis­course. It was an is­sue that Con­gress had taken for granted for years ow­ing to its his­tory but was caught un­awares as the Modi-led BJP con­flated Hin­dutva with na­tional iden­tity and also pit­ted in­de­pen­dence icons like Sar­dar Pa­tel against na­tional mas­cot Jawa­har­lal Nehru to bring Con­gress’s legacy un­der a cloud among vot­ers.

As BJP con­tin­ues to dic­tate the dis­course, Con­gress ap­pears to feel that it has to strengthen the con­fi­dence of its grass­roots work­ers in its na­tion­al­ist legacy.

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