New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party's top brass on Saturday asked the party's spokespersons and media cell office bearers from across the states to be more aggressive in taking on the Congress, but maintain decency and decorum while countering the Opposition through television debates and press interactions.
At a closed-door media workshop organised for its spokespersons, panelists and media cells at the Centre and in states, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley dwelt on the "dos and don'ts" while handling the media and attacking the political opponents.
Swaraj, who inaugurated the workshop, said party leaders should exercise caution while hitting out at the Congress as "words once spoken cannot be taken back", party sources said.
She emphasised on the need for the spokespersons and panelists to speak in one voice and maintain decorum while firmly rubbishing arguments of the political adversaries.
Swaraj said the Congress should be targeted on issues like corruption, state of the economy and misgovernance, among other issues.
In his address, Jaitley expressed dissatisfaction at the manner in which the BJP spokespersons had tackled Congress charges against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi after his Independence Day speech.
Jaitley said Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had used derogatory words against Modi which should have been countered strongly but decently. The BJP has also demanded that Azad should take back his words immediately and also tender an apology for his remarks.
Jaitley said there is a need to take on the Congress in a more aggressive fashion. Sources said he asked the spokespersons to be better prepared to sound more convincing. He underlined the need for setting the agenda in the media and public debates and not follow the one set by the Congress, and rued that the party was not doing this.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the workshop, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said, "Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley spoke in their speeches at the workshop on how spokespersons should put across their views vociferously but with decorum. We should not lose the decency in our language."
The BJP MP said the Congress has made a habit of using vituperative language on the social media against the Opposition, and there is a need to deal with it.
"The two senior leaders said Congress is lowering the standard of the debate. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has used derogatory language against Modi.
"Ghulam Nabi Azad not just insulted Modi by calling him 'Gangu Teli' but also insulted the community to which he belongs. This is unfortunate," Hussain said. The BJP also demanded that Azad take back his words immediately and also tender an apology for insulting all backward castes and especially the members of this particular community.
"The BJP wants to tell Congress President Sonia Gandhi to restrain her ministers and spokespersons. We will answer back to the Congress but not in such indecent language," Hussain said.
The party is likely to take up this issue on different fora to attack the Congress.
Jaitley also spoke on the state of the economy, and the party may hold a separate workshop on it in the near future.
"The Prime Minister has the image of an economist and not that of a mass leader who helped in winning elections. But this image has been dented after his speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort that the situation will not worsen to the extent of the one that prevailed in 1991. But the economic situation today is worse," Hussain said.