Rahul Gandhi's Google Hangout in response to Narendra Modi's 'chai par charcha' on Saturday to connect with party workers and boost their morale ended up busting their morale further. Office bearers in many state unit headquarters gave the slip to Gandhi's Hangout and left it to junior level workers to attend.
Many party leaders even draw a parallel between Rahul's first interaction with party workers through social media with his first disastrous TV interview. The scenario at the Delhi PCC was chaotic. The audio and video system malfunctioned. "We could hardly hear what was being said. The images were blurred," said a Congress leader who attended the talk.
Top Delhi Congress leaders including Kapil Sibal, Ajay Maken, Sandeep Dikshit, JP Agarwal and state party president Arvinder Singh Lovely were absent and instead perfered to campaign in their constituencies. The general secretaries and vice presidents also did not attend."We had our campaigning schedules. We could not afford to waste an hour in the talk," said a vice president of the party who did not attend the meeting. Many said they heard bits and pieces of the show on their mobile.
Some party workers in the Delhi Congress office were seen loitering and sipping tea in the corridors outside the first floor conference hall where the talk was on. "It is quiet boring to sit through one hour. A cup of tea is a much needed break," said a Congressman over a cup of tea outside the conference hall.
Attempting to boost the morale of his party workers, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi asked them to dismiss opinion polls that predicted a rout for the party. "Predicting 100 seats is a joke. If you are not demoralised, we will smash up....If you have no doubts in mind, we are getting 200 plus....Don't assume that opinion polls are the law," he told workers, as he addressing them on Google hangout.
He asked them to put the message of RTI and other rights across to people, and how they are changing the way politics is run in India. He said opinion polls in 2004 and again in 2009 predicting defeat of Congress were proved wrong. "We are going to win the election again...No question of BJP coming to power...We are going to get majority to form the government," he affirmed.
Interacting with the party workers for over an hour, he warned them about the forces out to demoralise them as they do not want secularism, they do not want people empowered and the common man become powerful.
He asked partymen to be aggressive, particularly youngsters to canvass that the Congress is an "idea," an idea against hatred, against anger and out to fight them with "respect to all and love."
In future, Rahul said he wants to give the maximum political rights to Congress workers and citizens in order to give them a role in decision making.
He said the opposition is scared of our programmes.....That is why the BJP did not allow Parliament to work as it was scared of the programmes we were bringing."
To a question from a worker from Punjab who complained of wrong selection of candidates in the last election, Rahul said it was bound to happen, as party workers are not involved in candidate selection. Without referring to Narendra Modi, Rahul said all decisions taken in the "enemy" party were taken by a single man, in contrast to Congress.
"We re-invented under Gandhiji and we have done it again and again that brought green revolution, IT revolution and so on....Now our central theme is how to build the voice of the common man into the political governance of our party and how to place voice of the weakest worker in the party's decisions."