Cong core group meets amid Karnataka crisis

Cong core group meets amid Karnataka crisis

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who chairs the manifesto committee, is expected to wrap up his nationwide consultations by February 1 and begin the actual task of drafting the party’s manifesto for the elections. PTI file photo

Top Congress leaders on Tuesday held a brain-storming session to plan out the party’s strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The meeting came on a day when politics in Karnataka was volatile amid claims by the BJP that it would stake claim to form government in the state if the JD(S)-Congress coalition government collapsed on its own. Though the Karnataka situation did not come up for discussion, a view in the Congress is that the BJP was using the Karnataka situation to send a message to Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan that are dependent on support of smaller parties and independent MLAs for survival.

The Congress has issued detailed instructions to its state units to fill up vacant posts in block and district committees and also identify probable candidates for the Lok Sabha elections.

State units have also been asked to prepare state-specific chargesheets against the BJP, which could be handy to target the Modi government on issues particular to a region.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who chairs the manifesto committee, is expected to wrap up his nationwide consultations by February 1 and begin the actual task of drafting the party’s manifesto for the elections.

Congress leaders had fanned across the country to interact with intellectuals, farmers, businessmen, students to elicit their views for the manifesto.

“We have held consultations in almost all the states. Consultations are pending in Arunachal Pradesh and Goa,” a Congress functionary said.

The party manifesto will be released closer to the Lok Sabha elections and is expected to include a blueprint for an alternative to the BJP’s much-touted Gujarat model of development.

Congress leaders who are part of the nine-member core group include former defence minister A K Antony, treasurer Ahmed Patel, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Jairam Ramesh.