Home >politics >policy >Congress to expand its media team

New Delhi: The Congress party plans to add up to 30 members to its media team after a workshop this month—a key job as it prepares for elections to five state assemblies this year followed by the national election due in May 2014. The party is set to hold the workshop for select members on 15 September, according to a person familiar with the development. The Congress currently has 36 spokespersons or panellists whose job is to project the party’s agenda across different media platforms.

Now, the party hopes to add 20-30 new members to this group following the workshop, according several people who figure in a shortlist of around 60 members invited to it. All declined to be identified.

The coming media-themed workshop is the second such in three months. The 60 who have been invited were in an original long list of around 250 members from different Congress cells that attended the earlier workshop, held in July.

The spokespersons will be selected from among the 60 invitees.

The workshop will include issues related to economy, including inflation and depreciation of the rupee, in addition to government policies that are seen to be in the interest of empowering common people, such as the food security law, said the party members mentioned above.

It will emphasize the “rights-based spirit" underlying much of recent legislation that the UPA has introduced, they said.

In addition to training its spokespersons for television appearances, the Congress is also focusing on social media management. The head of its communication department, Ajay Maken, participated in the first of a series of social media sessions being organized in different state capitals.

According to Maken’s Twitter account, the party aims to hold 73 such workshops across the country.

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party too is focused on engaging with the electorate via television, having issued guidelines to its members on how to handle different subjects on the TV.

The number of Indian households with television sets is estimated to be 154 million, and is expected to grow to 173 million by 2017, according to a report by consulting firm KPMG.

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