Page pramukh concept: Cong copies BJP play

Page pramukh concept: Cong copies BJP play

AICC general secretary incharge of Karnataka K C Venugopal. DH file photo.

The Congress, which is preparing for an earlier-than-expected Lok Sabha polls, has drawn up a meticulous grassroots strategy to expand its vote base and counter the BJP.

The party has yet again turned to booth-level campaigns, something it tried to do for the first time in the Assembly polls earlier this year.

While insiders say the attempt - the Congress was moving towards becoming a cadre-based organisation - did not yield expected results, the leadership is convinced that elections have to be fought at the booths, closer to voters.

The party seems to have also taken a leaf out of the BJP’s book as the saffron party, too, took up massive grassroots campaigns in the Assembly elections.

Based on directions of the party high command, the KPCC will launch a statewide programme - Lok Sampark - on October 2. While the campaign is meant for fundraising and membership, it marks the start of the party’s booth-level campaigns ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Karnataka has 56,696 booths, and at least four-fifths of them were covered by the Congress by forming booth-level committees. This exercise was monitored directly by AICC general secretary incharge of Karnataka K C Venugopal.

From October 2 to November 19, the party aims to enrol one crore booth coordinators. Every booth coordinator has been asked to visit at least 20-25 homes to establish a personal connection with voters. This seems to be the Congress’ counter to the BJP’s Page Pramukh concept, in which the saffron party had one party worker appointed for every page of the voters’ list of a booth.

Not only that, the booth coordinators will reach out to “like-minded” NGOs to beef up the party’s support base.

This will be supervised by an area booth coordinator, who will be named for every 100 booths.

The drive aims to enrol first-time voters as members of the party and collect relevant data that could come handy.

“At many places, booth-level committees did not yield results because they were not properly utilised. Now, the phone numbers of booth coordinators will be part of a mechanism through which senior party leaders can engage with them,” said MLC Rizwan Arshad, who was part of the Congress’ Assembly election campaign committee.

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