Seeking early-mover gains, Congress readies plan for states

Seeking early-mover gains, Congress readies plan for states

BY CL Manoj

Learning from Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections, the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress leadership is planning to adopt a hitherto uncharacteristic ‘first-off-the-block’ approach in preparing for next year’s state polls en route to the next general elections.

While Friday’s CWC meeting witnessed some members pitching for reinforcing organisational structure at all levels well in advance of assembly elections, sources said preparations are already on to roll out an action plan aimed at readying the party not only for the upcoming state polls but even for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The party action plan has factored in the possibility of the ruling NDA advancing the general elections to 2018 end along with some key states in the North. Leaders privy to the planning said, the Congress leadership is working on action plan, especially with “focussed and advanced ground mobilisation” in over 10 states, which Congress classifies, as “BJP’s double and triple incumbency burden areas”.

Incidentally, BJP won between 80% and 100% LS seats in these states in 2014. The BJP has also been ruling in this states for up to six consecutive terms.

In Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, BJP won three consecutive terms, the party won 26 out of 29 and 10 out of 11 LS seats, respectively in 2014. Similarly, the Congress is working to tap anti-incumbency of BJP in saffron-ruled Maharashtra where BJP-Shiv Sena combine had won 41 of 48 LS seats. In UP, the BJP won 71 of 80 LS seats while in Gujarat where the party won the sixth straight assembly poll, it won all 26 LS seats. The BJP also scored high in LS in party-ruled Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Himachal, Haryana and JK.

“In all these states, BJP has reached the saturation points and risks deep incumbency burden. All that Congress needs to do is to determinedly tap the incumbency burden by getting the right leader to lead and unite the party and begin advanced mass mobilisation and, you will see that happening soon,” said a senior party functionary while indicating the party will encourage strategic tie-ups in states where the party is weak. Sources said, while many new PCC leadership will be appointed, zonal-based Congress committees for extra pre-poll work could also be set up with a special focus on organisational strengthening from the booth – level up to Congress working committee.

Work has already started on conducting surveys to prioritise the main issues concerning the people in these areas, their major resentment against Modi regime and respective BJP state governments for Congress to campaign on. The process of shortlisting probable candidates are also on. Rahul Gandhi is expected to tour these states periodically to monitor and reinforce PCC’s local mobilisations against saffron incumbency burdens. The AICC is also planning to conduct brainstorming sessions in these states.

Courtesy: The Economic Times