‘Family’arity breeds contempt in Cong list of spokespersons

It runs in the family. That is how a section of upset Congress leaders has described the partys list of newly appointed spokespersons, most of whom are either children of senior leaders or those close to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

In January, the party had invited applications from “modern, liberal and progressive men and women” as part of a talent hunt to revamp its communications wing and rope in fresh faces to represent the party.

Over 500 applicants were interviewed and 46 have been chosen, including 32 who are now designated as spokespersons and 14 media panelists.

Spokespersons include former Union minister M Veerappa Moilys son Harsha Moily, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddys daughter Sowmya Reddy, Industries Minister R V Deshpandes son Prashant Deshpande, former governor Margaret Alvas son Nivedith Alva, former minister D B Chandre Gowdas daughter Veena Gowda, MLC Motammas daughter Nayna Jhawar and former legislator (late) Manchanahalli Mahadevs daughter Aiyshwarya Mahadev.

Some of them are aspiring for tickets to contest the upcoming Assembly elections.

Also, MLCs V S Ugrappa and P R Ramesh, former MP C Narayanaswamy, former womens commission chairperson Manjula Manasa among others, who are known to be close aides of Siddaramaiah, have also been roped in as spokespersons.

An AICC team led by its communications convenor Priyanka Chaturvedi had camped in the city to “screen” applicants. The new team will replace old-timers who have been representing the party in public fora. This has not gone down too well with a section of leaders.

Priyanka told DH that this was a “needless” controversy. “Everyone who has been selected, including children of party leaders, went through a process of questions-and-answers. None has come through any favouritism,” she said, adding that party leaders had been taken into confidence before the new team was announced. “There could be some upset voices. But we have to keep the partys interest in mind.”

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) working president Dinesh Gundu Rao also issued a statement corroborating Priyankas stand.

According to the party, 21 out of the 46-member communications team are under the age of 40, one-third of them being women.

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