New Delhi: Congress wants to avoid unnecessary attacks on Narendra Modi that can make him a polarising figure ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
This message is being sought to be conveyed to party spokespersons as Congress will hold a one-day workshop on social media for its media strategists across the country.
"Congress is fighting BJP in the elections ahead and not Narendra Modi" is the message to its spokespersons from the ruling party's think tank.
Seeking to avoid giving a larger-than-life image to the Gujarat Chief Minister even unwittingly, the message delivered to its media managers at a recent meeting was that Modi should not succeed in becoming a polarising figure.
Hence the spokespersons were directed to be less strident and more factual without being personal when they criticise Modi.
The impact of the directive was visible with Muslim leaders in the party refraining from any personal attack on Modi as it has been felt that such an attack is used to polarise the voters by the BJP.
On August 15, when Modi foisted flag in Gujarat slamming the Independence Day speech of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress deputed former CLP leader from Gujarat Shaktisinh Gohil to reply to Modi's comments, though the next day leaders vied with each other to attack Modi.
An indication of the party's changed strategy on Modi was given by Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who said that Modi is one of the "over two and half a dozen" Chief Ministers in the country.
The Congress line was that Modi's attacking speech from Bhuj in an Independence Day function was to grab national attention and hence Congress did not want to fall into his trap.
Congress feels that BJP has been seeking to turn the next Lok Sabha polls into some sort of a Presidential race and hence excessive focus on one individual should be avoided.
It was an old strategy of the party, which earlier also avoided attacking Modi from the AICC podium leaving its Gujarat leadership to tackle the BJP Chief Minister.
However, there were occasions when not only the party spokesperson but even Union Ministers went hammer and tongs against Modi.
While one spokesperson had earlier attacked Modi saying he will come on buffalo (considered the vehicle of Yamraj, the God of death in Hindu mythology), a Union minister recently dubbed him a "frog just out of the well".
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had been impressing upon party leaders to eschew personal attacks.