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In this Idea Exchange, Manish Tewari, the new Information and Broadcasting Minister, speaks about his new role, government regulation versus self-regulation and why Rahul Gandhi's isn't a cameo role. This session was moderated by Opinion Editor Vandita Mishra
Vandita Mishra: What does it mean to have Rahul Gandhi now in charge of the election coordination committee? What does it change for the party or for the government?
It means what it says. Mr Rahul Gandhi will be coordinating the strategy in the run-up to the 2014 elections. That gives him a larger remit than the Youth Congress and the NSUI which he has been trying to re-energise. It obviously means he will have a much larger role to play, a far more public profile insofar as the elections are concerned. In 2009, he had participated as one of the main campaigners for the Congress. Now he will be leading the party into the next elections.
Vandita Mishra: Salman Khurshid had said that cameo appearances by Rahul Gandhi had taken a toll on the party. The party was waiting for him to take on a greater role and give it direction. Will the party now move on and stop waiting for Rahul Gandhi to make a move?
With all due respect to Mr Khurshid, I would like to disagree with that characterisation. When he made that remark, I was a spokesperson for the party and we had made this very clear: Mr Gandhi had carved out a certain remit for himself and that remit involved democratising and invigorating the mass organisations of the party. By no stretch of imagination was that a cameo appearance—it was a full-time engagement. That is a facet that possibly may not have come to Mr Khurshid's attention. There was this demand from within the party and outside that his role needed to be enlarged. That has steadily happened. You saw him in a far more active role at the rally in Delhi endorsing the government's decision on FDI. And now you have this coordination committee remit. The Congress is extremely dynamic, with many strains feeding into it in terms of ideas, strategies. Mrs Gandhi was working to see how all of them could come together. At some point, there had to be a convergence and this coordination committee is a convergence.
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