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The Congress laid out the red carpet for the media at the chintan shivir in Jaipur. From luxury double-decker buses from Delhi to Jaipur to accommodation at the five star Clarks Hotel, no effort was spared to keep the scribes happy. Nevertheless, a lot of journalists were miffed. The bone of contention was that while some journalists stayed at the Clarks Amer, others were told to move to a more distant guest house as there were not enough rooms at the hotel. While most of the representatives from the "national media" stayed at the Clarks the regional press was allotted rooms in guest houses. "Are we anti-national" protested one insulted senior scribe from a leading Bengali daily. A woman correspondent shot off an angry SMS to Congress president's political secretary, Ahmed Patel. The media in charge, Tom Vadakkan, was helpless and blamed the mix-up on local PCC workers who did the bookings. Several senior Congress leaders, including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Mukul Wasnik, Jairam Ramesh and Digvijay Singh, met the media to try and smooth ruffled feathers. However, the head of the AICC's media cell Janardan Dwivedi did not make an appearance.
Bureaucrats working for the Rajasthan Government did not make any distinction between government and party during the Congress jamboree in Jaipur. Rajasthan cadre information officers based in Jaipur and Delhi were roped in to provide help and logistical support to the media contingent which had come to cover the event.
Practice vs preaching
At the discussions on organisational changes at the chintan shivir in Jaipur, Rahul Gandhi agreed with the view that outsiders who had joined the party lately should not be given precedence over long-time loyalists. Sitting to the right and left of Gandhi were Mohan Prakash who was formerly with the Janata Dal and Madhusudan Mistry. Both men have been entrusted with important assignments in the party. In his speech at the convention, Gandhi also talked of the need for Congresspersons to stop travelling in cars with red beacons and to do away with nepotism!