Cong to kick-start consultations for LS manifesto

Cong to kick-start consultations for LS manifesto

Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

"Get the sense of voters", was Congress president Rahul Gandhi's message to party leaders on Saturday who are tasked with planning and executing the strategy for the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Rahul held separate meetings of the publicity committee, manifesto committee and the core committee in New Delhi to set the broad working parameters for the three panels as the Congress gears up to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the hustings next year.

Senior leaders A K Antony, P Chidambaram and Anand Sharma have been appointed as chairpersons of the coordination, manifesto and publicity committees respectively.

Senior leaders Jairam Ramesh, M V Rajeev Gowda and Pawan Khera will be the convenors of the coordination, manifesto and publicity committees respectively.

This was Rahul's first interaction with the manifesto and publicity committees which were constituted before he embarked on the Kailash Mansarovar yatra late last month.

Congress leaders have been asked to hold consultations with a cross section of people to understand their expectations that could be incorporated in the manifesto.

“We have formed 20 sub-groups such as agriculture, traders, ex-servicemen, pensioners, freedom fighters, urban issues, rural issue, youth,” a member of the manifesto committee told DH.

He said the committee members will fan out across the country beginning next week to kick start the consultation process for the manifesto.

Congress leaders are planning to visit states that faced farmers' suicides, regions that were worst affected by demonetisation and industrial hubs that witnessed job loss.

Similarly, the publicity committee has also been asked to keep its ear to the ground to ascertain what the voters expect to hear from the Congress.

“We have been clearly told that the party's messaging should reflect the aspirations of the people. We should not be didactic,” a member of the publicity committee said.

Congress had reached out to the people ahead of the Assembly elections in Gujarat in December last year and Karnataka earlier this year to ascertain their views for the manifesto.

In Gujarat, Indian Overseas Congress Chairman Sam Pitroda had held meetings with different sections of the society, while in Karnataka the party had come out with district specific manifestos.