The Telegraph
Sunday , January 5 , 2014
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Click, click: Rahul has already taken over

New Delhi, Jan. 4: If the battle of perception can be waged by clicking a button, the Congress cannot be accused of not trying.

The new website the Congress launched a few days ago reflects the changes in the party, both in its content and approach, and provides evidence of Rahul Gandhi’s supremacy despite Sonia Gandhi still heading the hierarchy.

The home page is about Rahul every inch of the way, carrying his speeches, quotes and nine photographs while Sonia finds no mention.

A great improvement on its predecessor, the new website,, provides an interactive feature under the section “Get Involved”, offering blogs, a joining manifesto and even a facility for donations.

The previous website didn’t have the donation facility, which may have been inspired by the success of the Aam Aadmi Party, which has generated sizeable funds online. The Congress website allows donations through cheques and takes care to mention that these are exempt from income tax.

“Voice, Empowerment and Opportunity — for all” is the motto on the home page, which focuses on policy objectives, leadership and achievements in a methodical way. The previous website was just a catalogue of contemporary events with an overwhelming emphasis on the speeches of Sonia and Rahul.

There’s a section on “Our Achievements” with five neatly defined chapters: Creating the Republic, Building an Equal India, Bringing Prosperity, Strengthening the Nation, and Promoting World Peace.

These chapters separately deal with the freedom movement, the Constitution, the party’s commitment to democracy, panchayati raj, combating corruption, lowering of the voting age, progressive values, economic opportunities, women’s empowerment, secularism, internal security, unifying the nation, and empowering the states.

Speeches and quotes by veteran leaders have been included to buttress the party’s claims in the various chapters.

The reliance on the stalwarts of the freedom movement suggests the Congress is keen to attract young voters to its rich historical legacy while keeping the focus on contemporary concerns.

The home page takes note of the raging discourse on corruption and includes a feature on Rahul’s determination to pass the pending bills that would complete the legislative framework to enforce accountability. The new land acquisition act and the government’s focus on inclusive growth find prominent mention.

There’s a chapter on “Leadership”, which retains Manmohan Singh along with Sonia and Rahul while no other individual is mentioned.

While Sonia has been described as the architect of the inclusive growth agenda, Rahul is presented as a leader who “dedicated his political career to building an open and inclusive organisation through promoting genuine intra-party democracy”.

Manmohan is a “thinker, scholar” and a reputable “economist who contributed extensively to (the) emergence of India as a strong and robust nation”.

There is a ready reckoner on the UPA government’s performance, with statistics on agriculture, the economy, education, health, infrastructure, national security and social welfare.

Various other sections deal with the party’s organisational structure, frontal bodies, committees, history, news, photographs and past leaders.