The Uttar Pradesh unit of the Congress party has conducted a written test and interviewed candidates for its new media team in the state, introducing a system in UP the party had tried in Gujarat and Karnataka.
At least 65 Congressmen took the test at the UPCC office in Lucknow on Thursday. The candidates included some of those who have previously been the party's spokesperson in the state. The written test comprised 14 questions.
Here are some of the questions asked:
1. The number of districts and zones in Uttar Pradesh
2. Congress's poll percentage in 2014 elections
3. Number of seats the party got in 2004 and 2009 elections
4. "Key failures" of the BJP government at the centre and in the state
5. The main achievements of the Manmohan Singh government
6. Three big ‘News’ of today
7. Names of some Hindi and Urdu newspapers and name of some big news channels
Congress national spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi and AICC social media coordinator Rohan Gupta interviewed them.
"If you want to be a spokesperson for the state and represent it, you need to have the information about it. You need to have knowledge about basic things," Chaturvedi said.
"This is a way to assess them. They will be the face of our party. They have to be well-versed with our legacy and issues in their state," she said.
On the relevance of the test, a senior Congress leader, who has been a spokesman for the party for a long time and who appeared in the test, said it is aimed at cutting the flab and have a leaner media team with adequate representation of women and youth.
"Earlier it was a team of 22 spokespersons but (the number) is expected to be much lesser this time," he said.
This team of Priyanka Chaturvedi and Rohan Gupta, which conducted the test yesterday in Lucknow, had gone to Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh to select the media team there on similar pattern, the senior Congress leader said.
On reports that several candidates were confused and were consulting others during the test, UPCC president Raj Babbar said: "Things are being blown out of proportion".
"If someone asks me such questions I will also have to think for answers."
Last week, Babbar dissolved his media team and three other departments to pave way for appointing a new team in preparation for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.