Congress Plan Of Action: Halla Bol, 120 Seat Target In 90 Days

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Congress Plan Of Action: Halla Bol, 120 Seat Target In 90 Days

| Updated: August 31, 2022 17:13

Come September 5 and the countdown starts to the 90-day action plan formulated by Congress to win Battle Gujarat. The Assembly elections in this state will be a decider of sorts for the 2024 General elections. Gujarat remains the BJP bastion and defeating the party on home turf will send out the message loud and clear that it is not invincible. Hence, even though Himachal and Jammu & Kashmir also go to polls later this year, all eyes are fixed on the Gujarat state elections.

While AAP surely has emerged as the aggressive contender to the saffron brigade, it is the Congress which is slowly but surely working to regain lost position in the state. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, appointed party observer for the Assembly elections, has already visited the state twice in the last month to strategize with local leaders.

Ashok Gehlot

For the first time, the central command has given a free hand to the state unit and helming all affairs is Gehlot. At a recently held meeting at former party chief Siddharth Patel’s residence, also present was Congress general secretary (organization), K.C. Veugopal and “select leaders.” The meet concluded with the decision that each local leader will be assigned charge of only two districts.  

K.C. Veugopal With Rahul Gandhi

When asked to share party prospects, state chief Jagdish Thakor says: “AAP is riding high on the success of Punjab. However, Gujarat is a seasoned political ground and the Congress has been around even longer than the BJP. Despite all the horse trading, we still stand at 67. How many does the AAP have. The only inroad AAP has been able to make is Surat and Gandhinagar because of some lapses on our part.”

Jagdish Thakor President, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee

Senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia believes that the Congress is contesting the elections under a special strategy. “There is support from the Central leadership and we are confident that due diligence from workers will bring the Congress back to power,” he shared.

Arjun Modhwadia

Nine Issues. 90 Days.

Having laid out the clear target, Congress sources shared the September 5 to December 5 Battle Cry. “Those who had to leave, have left. We can now focus on getting the work done rather than on holding back unwilling party workers,” shared Venugopal during his recent visit to the state. In the 2017 Assembly elections, BJP won 99 seats, while in the 182-member Assembly, the Congress bagged 77.

1. Emphasis On Winning Booths:

Two Jan Mitras will be instituted at each booth, evidently in a bid to proactively sense and inform of any malpractices. “The BJP is known to adopt varied tactics to augment its vote count. A vigilant booth set up is being done to counter this,” shared a top leader on conditions of anonymity. The “My Booth My Pride” campaign is already underway and is being monitored by an Assembly level booth level officer (BLO). From Dec 24 to Dec 26, top leadership will make public contact via the booths.  According to Thakor, nearly 50,000 booths in the state will dispense with the Jan Mitra ID cards by September end. All records will be logged in the GPCC app.

2. Remove Fake Voters

The Congress has already registered its complaint on fake voters with the Election Commission. For instance, Mehsana district alone has 9,000 fake voters. “Some have died while some do not live in the address shown. This is a deep-set game and the players are obvious. We have taken the matter to EC and if not rectified, we will go to court,” briefed the insider.

3. Public Relations Vital

Realising that it is on a backfoot where connecting with masses is concerned, the Congress has adopted a three-phase approach. In the first, direct meeting will be held with people associated with the party’s ideology. The second phase will focus on meeting families of victims (Gujarat riots, Dalits, minorities) and finally, in the last phase, social organizations, NGOs, intellectuals and professionals  will be invited to open house sessions.

4. Public Inclusion In Manifesto

Instead of a manifesto drafted by the party, the Congress will release a manifesto on basis of popular pulse. The three-phase meetings, first of which is over, is targeted at assuaging what the people want. Former AICC general secretary Deepak Babaria has been entrusted the charge.

5. Gradation of Constituency Seats

Assembly constituencies have been divided into three segments in terms of the party’s performance. There are 50 seats where the Congress is admittedly weak and candidates for these are expected to be declared first. This is being done to ensure enough time to establish grass-root contact with the workers. Currently, the Congress has 67 sitting MLAs, including Independent Jignesh Mevani. About 60 MLAs are expected to be re-nominated. Nine-time MLA and former leader of the Assembly, Mohan Rathwa, has refused to contest the elections. Nearly 23 seats have more than one name in the fray.

6. Augment Voting Percentage

“Our emphasis is on getting the voter out to cast his precious vote. We have suffered because only 45-50% of our core base has been exercising its franchise. We want to push the count to 70%,” added Thakor.

7. Aggressive Propaganda

Instead of a muted campaign, the INC will go all out to beat its drums. More than 300 big gatherings have been lined-up. While RaGa will hold public meetings and road shows in all the four zones, Priyanka Gandhi is expected to hold morchas in tribal and urban extensions. All national office bearers, former CMS and former Union ministers have been asked to deploy their contacts at the Assembly level.

8. Attack BJP On Issues

It will be an issue-based fight with facts to enlighten the public on the BJP’s promises versus failures. On an average, a Central leader will hold a press conference every third day. In the first two months, a press conference will be held in Ahmedabad, while in the last month, press conferences will be organized in metros such as Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot.

9. Avoid BJP’s Trap

Party leaders have been instructed to steer clear from rhetoric or speeches which might eventually swing in favour of the BJP. All spokespersons have been alerted to focus on issues that the BJP has failed on and work on positive deliverances rather than on negative vibes.

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