A Spokesman for NC
The party and the lack of Art of Talking
POINT OF VIEW BY RIYAZ AHMAD
National Conference is changing or so it seems. One proof of this is the appointment of a new spokesman Tanvir Sadiq, a young, dapper man speaking in measured cadences of received English. His primary responsibility will be to articulate the party to the media, something that the party has rarely done in the past. So far, the party's media strategy has been the poorly written press statements, additional general secretary Mustafa Kamal's contentious utterances and of course Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's tweets which blend personal with political. But Tanvir is supposed to change this. He is supposed to lend this communication a voice and a personality. And going by the way he has conducted himself so far, Tanvir appears game for the role.
In his first interaction with the media at a get-together on the lawns of a hotel on the outskirts of Srinagar, Tanvir, 33, reveled in his role as the young spokesman of Kashmir's grand old party, skillfully tackling questions and queries directed at him. He personally attended every journalist, stepping forward to receive them with a greeting, hand-shake and a hug. He said he will work to bridge the distance between media and NC and ensure that there is no more a sense of vagueness about what the party thinks.
By all accounts, this is a redeeming change. All its 70 years of existence, NC has been a party that has preferred to be talked about rather than talk about itself. The party lives in a self-contained world where its leaders interact with the cadre and the cadre then mobilises the votes. This is a secretive, a zealously guarded world which keeps the party silently busy and withdrawn.
But the problem is while this silent, self-serving pre-occupation has ensured electoral survival, the party has increasingly become inscrutable. So much so that the party no longer has a political personality and it isnít easily visible what it stands for. Its policies and slogans are like a flash in the pan, gone before they are fully registered on the public psyche. Autonomy, AFSPA and the bid to re-assert control over the stateís water resources are the battles that are vigorously undertaken and then tamely given up midway. There isnít a single overpowering theme that runs through this government. It responds to the governance on a day to day basis and meets challenges - often fails to meet them Ė as they arise.
And whatever good the party may be doing or may have done, it too doesnít get across to people. It is because the party doesnít deem it worth its while to talk about this. In fact, NC doesnít almost talk about anything, that is, short of its leaderís tweets and his rare public statements. Any journalist in Valley will tell you how calls to most of the partyís leaders go abegging. It seems the party wants to give an impression of being totally consumed by governance, of course to a shoddy outcome. And even when the calls are answered, voice from the other side is stiff and haughty. There is a certain pretended air of royalty about the behaviour. Omar himself is a pleasant exception though.
It isnít easy to make NC talk. But will Tanvir Sadiq pull off this feat. He has youth, a persona cast in the mould of Omar and of course a gift of 'spokesmanly' gab that pleasantly distinguishes him from the unhelpful television rantings of the likes of Aslam Goni. But in doing so, Tanvir will be stepping into fairly large shoes of a party which is not only struggling with its image but has a lot of explanation to do for the way it has conducted itself in recent years.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 2 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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