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RaGa mocking media in successive speeches: A well-crafted strategy?

By Rakesh Ranjan- 07 Jan 2023
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New Delhi (07.01.2022): For the first time the Congress is compelled to fight the battle of nerves by means of Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) against its rock-solid rival at the Centre. In the bargain, it is very cleverly attacking the country’s biggest business houses and media barons for hobnobbing with the government allegedly on a quid pro quo basis for blatantly siding with the ruling dispensation.

While mocking and attacking the resource-rich media houses, the Gandhi scion is cleverly sparing field journalists for being hapless to tell the truth. In his every successive attack in his BJY speeches on media, Rahul Gandhi never forgets to underline that journalists are just eking out their living from the profession.

A section of media strategists says that Congress must be aware of the consequences of such an onslaught on the media but they have nothing to lose but to gain. If the idea hits, they will be in the saddle but if it misses, they are already in the opposition and not getting space, time, and coverage in the media as it claims.     

How will their strategy work?

Claiming and blaming every media house as hostile is the most obvious outcome of this strategy. If it succeeds in discrediting the press it will reduce its damages and leverage the anti-incumbency factor against the ruling dispensation. While navigating the course in BJY, Rahul is rarely seen losing any opportunity to belittle media barons.

Further, Rahul Gandhi is bang on target in his strategy to discredit the media to such an extent that people stop believing its reports. When he says forget about reporting on Congress, the media doesn’t even report peoples’ hardship including inflation and unemployment.

For example, by flaunting his T-shirt he takes another jibe at the media saying it keeps him asking why doesn’t he feel the heat of chilling cold instead of reporting about poverty and scanty clothed poor during winters.

His dig on played-up news reports on ‘African Cheetah’ brought to India whether they hunt for deer or not was cheered by the crowd. As per the Congress strategy, if the media is discredited in this fashion, anything against the Congress and support of the government by them would not be received well by the people which means zero or minimal media impact.

In fact, the Congress is mindfully projecting Rahul in T-shirt and equating him as a savior of the last man in the queue and a country’s selfless leader. Another symbolism is that the Congress is trying to put him well in the saddle as a ‘Yoddha’ (warrior).  It appears a deliberate move to counter the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Yogi avatar. Further, the Congress is projecting Rahul’s bachelorhood status vis a vis several crowed pulling BJP leaders.

At this stage of BJY, it’s no longer a debate about whether it's a well-planned strategy or is everything spontaneous.

People straight away disagree that this is spontaneous and there is a clear pattern. One can sniff Congress’ olden golden style of letting the narrative sink in the minds of people that what media is showing suits only the ruling dispensation and if people start believing it, the work is done for Congress which may become the game changer for the Congress in 2024. A section of analysts believes that the BJP worked on a similar strategy in 2014 to establish its narrative with the help of media and social media.

The success of the Congress strategy can be assessed from the fact that some big business houses have started clarifying their positions. This is what the Congress wants to achieve, the fear of being exposed as TRP and advertisement is a big factor for the sustainability of the media houses.

If the fear grips in that Congress may bounce back then what? People are made to believe that media houses have become the mouthpiece of the government, the work of Congress will be half done. For the rest, the strategy will be chalked out post BJY for which they are meeting in Chhattisgarh in February 2023 in the leadership of the new Congress President.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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