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Karnataka polls: Congress' communication team to set up base in Bengaluru, employ aggressive poll campaigning

After releasing its list of candidates contesting the upcoming Karnataka Assembly election, the Congress is in the process of shifting its communication department to Bengaluru in order to amplify its campaigning and discourse. The social media team will also accompany the communication department’s team in the run-up to the election.

Taking a cue from its experiment in the Gujarat election, which saw the party register an impressive performance, the Congress is hoping to replicate the same in Karnataka, albeit with improvisations.

 Karnataka polls: Congress communication team to set up base in Bengaluru, employ aggressive poll campaigning

File image of Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala. PTI

Besides AICC communication department in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, Mumbai-based national convener, communication, Priyanka Chaturvedi and national media coordinator Sanjeev Singh will camp at the state capital for almost a month. The AICC communication team, that will basically function out of Bengaluru, is quite small in size and is headed by Surjewala.

Besides these three, a core team will work alongside the party's social media team and the communication department of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).

The team

Surjewala: As the head of communications, he's completely in charge of planning, strategy development, finalising the daily schedule of spokespersons and panellists for news channels, briefing his team members and media communicators, monitoring 'war room' activities, deciding subjects for press conferences and what should be communicated to the media.

Chaturvedi: She will work alongside Surjewala to bring national leaders, who are popular in Karnataka, to come for interactions with the voters and media. Reaching out to the media to set up interviews, interactions, to building a narrative, issuing press releases, training party spokespersons, ensuring prompt and swift dissemination of information and managing the war room fall under the purview of her responsibility.

Singh: The right-hand man of Surjewala, he will be responsible for all backroom operations, follow-ups, ensuring proper implementation of the day's plan as finalised by the department's head and overseeing coordination with the media.

Divya Spandana: Film actor-turned-politician, Spandana is the head of Congress' social media team and will be a part of the core communication team for Karnataka.

The communication team will guide the Karnataka team and ensure micro-level communication in the local language – right from press releases to TV bytes.

"We've learnt lessons from the Gujarat election. The Congress performed well due to its campaign and communication strategy in Gujarat. However, there were shortcomings, which have now been taken care of. Improvisation has been done in communication strategy. This time, the local press and vernacular media will be addressed in Kannada. All communication will be in English, Hindi and Kannada," a Congress source told Firstpost.

Karnataka is the first state where, as an experiment, the Congress has selected spokespersons, panellists, content writers, media experts, etc, for the state and district levels, after a series of screening sessions. These selected candidates will address press conferences, act as party spokespersons and panellists on television debates.

Special training workshops will be conducted for these 70 to 80 candidates in various modules on how to respond to questions, tackle rant media, address a press conference, participate in a debate and panel discussion, and improve response time.

According to a KPCC source, the party has identified issues like rape and women's safety, attacks on Dalits and other local and hyper-local issues to be taken up during the campaign.

"The objective is to have an aggressive campaigning and take the BJP head on. Besides the usual media, we'll aggressively go for social media campaigns and take up issues relevant to the state. It's only the Siddaramaiah government that can provide safety and security to women and Dalits, and not the BJP," the source added.

Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.

Updated Date: Apr 17, 2018 11:31:57 IST

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