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Congress' Effort to Connect With Professionals May Not Pay Off

Congress has launched a new wing — Professionals’ Congress — under the leadership of Shashi Tharoor, diplomat-turned-politician who has huge following on social media.

Pallavi Ghosh | CNN-News18pallavighcnnibn

Updated:August 2, 2017, 12:06 PM IST
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Congress' Effort to Connect With Professionals May Not Pay Off
Shashi Tharoor said, there is a sense of disappointment among the professionals with the BJP that things are not moving and they want an alternative. They see Congress as that alternative.(File photo: Reuters)
New Delhi: Engineers, doctors, chartered accountants and other similar professionals may not make for enough votes to win elections but play a significant role in opinion making and trendsetting.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP was successful in wooing such professionals who added up as campaigners in 2014 election on social media and in offices.

Congress has finally woken up to this fact and launched a new wing — Professionals’ Congress — under the leadership of Shashi Tharoor, diplomat-turned-politician who has huge following on social media.

As the name suggests, Professionals’ Congress was launched with a sleek online platform with sections dedicated to issues like jobs, women empowerment, taxation, education and waste management.

“There is a sense of disappointment among the professionals with the BJP that things are not moving and they want an alternative. They see Congress as that alternative,” Shashi Tharoor told News18.

Milind Deora, who was an MP from Mumbai, is vice-chairman of Professionals’ Congress. Gaurav Gogoi, Geeta Reddy and Salman Soz are the other members in the leadership team.

According to sources, Tharoor had suggested in 2009 that such an affiliate organization should be set up, but no one in the party had paid any heed.

Now that party is struggling to find its base and having seen how Modi mobilized professionals, the party has

And the loss was the Congress’. In 2014, professionals voted for Modi as in him they saw hope, and this belief continues. In fact the Congress lost it because of what was seen as its NGO style of politics.

The emphasis on land acquisition and tribal laws and the NAC’s clash with UPA’s pro-reform policies and the constant debate between reforms versus development led to a perception among professionals and corporates that UPA did not care for them.

This realization hit them later, leading to Rahul Gandhi addressing a town hall at FICCI trying to convince the corporates that he cared for them. “It’s wrong to say that UPA or Congress is against reforms and development,” he had said. The immediate fallout was letting go of Jayanti Natarajan from the cabinet as there were complaints that she was slow in moving the files.

But will a similar move, of the party setting up a committee help? Maybe not. Modi still holds the grip. And Congress admits, privately, that the ease of doing business with the professionals may not be easy.

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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