On Ambedkar Jayanti, the Congress party launched its own YouTube channel under the name ‘INC TV’ on Wednesday to “make its voice heard and reach more people”. In its first show on the channel, the Congress party telecast a short film on Mahatma Gandhi’s role as a journalist during India’s independence movement. It showed newspaper cutting which elaborated on Gandhi and his writings as a scribe.
The Congress, along with several other opposition parties, have time and again accused the media of being “partisan”.
Recently, at a press conference, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was asked about the perception that the opposition is weak. He responded by saying that all the institutions of democracy, including the media, were “against them”. Other Congress leaders, too, alleged that inside the parliament, they are not allowed to speak. “Mikes are switched off, the government is partisan and our voices are crushed,” they alleged.
Besides, Congress has dubbed the Indian press as “godi media”, who “don’t show their side of the story”. In fact, at several press conferences, Rahul Gandhi has asked reporters “not to be scared” and that he would support them.
Politics is the art of building perception and communication. There has been a growing feeling within the party that it needs to articulate and reach out to more people and if the traditional media is not doing it then the party should have its own platform.
Wednesday’s event will be headed by a former professional journalist and will showcase the speeches and thoughts of Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders as well.
Eventually, the channel will telecast its programmes, livestream 24 hours, and be round the clock on the news. In recent times, Congress has upped its presence on the social media space and is aggressive on Twitter and Facebook.
All leaders have been encouraged to take on the BJP through social media. However, Congress feels that it needs to be heard more.
But there is some disgruntlement within the party on this front. First, not many were aware of the launch of the YouTube channel. Second, some party members asked about the need for a channel and who will be its audience. “Who will watch it? Will it have the hits,” are some of the main concerns.
However, the party feels that given the success of Rahul Gandhi’s videos of his dive and interaction with the rural people in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the INC TV may emerge to be a hit.
Congress hopes it to be a counter to the Namo TV.
Sources say that the people behind this idea are Randeep Surjewala, Mallikarjun Kharge, apart from its own social media team. It is also a cause for internal rivalry as some feel that it could be used to the advantage of building the profile of those involved with it.
Would it make the likes of Surjewala more powerful and end up irking the Hoodas, who are feeling sidelined in Haryana? For now, of course, the congress is hopeful of its success and helps it take on the BJP’s mighty presence across platforms and also pave way for the real battle on the ground.