Taking a leaf out of BJP book, the Congress has decided to focus on micromanagement in the upcoming crucial by-elections in 27 Assembly constituencies of the state. As a counter to the BJP’s ‘Panna Prabhari’ stratagem, PCC president Kamal Nath, has decided to appoint an in-charge for every 20 voters. However, this is easier said than done given the fact that the party is facing an acute dearth of grassroots-level workers in the constituencies of the Gwalior-Chambal region.
With the Election Commission issuing detailed guidelines on holding elections in the Covid times, it is clear that a formal notification for the by-polls may come any day. The State Congress is immersed in formulating its strategy for the polls, which, it hopes, would catapult it back into power. According to those privy to the party’s strategy sessions, the PCC President has drawn up a three-fold strategy.
One, putting the BJP’s candidates – most of whom would be Scindia-loyalist former Congressmen – in the dock by portraying them as leaders who have price tags on them; as representatives who betrayed the popular mandate.
The party has also decided to focus on ‘micromanagement’, which is said to be a major component of the BJP’s electoral success formula. Not stopping at the booth level, the BJP, in the last Lok Sabha elections, had appointed ‘Panna Prabharis’ – in-charges for each page of the voter’s lists. Kamal Nath, going a step further, has decided to appoint in-charges for every 20 voters. However that would be a tall order in the constituencies which fall under the zone of influence of Jyotiraditya Scindia, where a huge number of workers have jumped on to the BJP bandwagon following in the footsteps of the Shrimant.
Thirdly, the party wants to eliminate the possibility of internal sabotage as far as possible. Party leaders want that the proposed candidates should be sounded in advance so that they can start winning over the malcontents. “The earlier they know that they would be the candidate, the better it would for them,” said an ex-minister, who used to be a Scindia loyalist.
The Congress is also hopeful that the discontent due to the Corona-induced loss of jobs and economic slowdown would also erode the BJP vote bank. The party feels that in public perception the Modi government may not be responsible for the spread of Covid but it is responsible for mismanaging the economy.
The party is hopeful of cornering a majority of the seats going to the polls. “I can tell you that the atmosphere is in our favour. We just need to play our cards well,” said Ramniwas Rawat, working president of the state Congress.