facilities which could have helped the party in a big way during election time.
A visit to Gandhi Bahaman, the party office for City and District Congress Committees would make one feel nostalgic about the old days when nobody had even heard of computer or Internet. There is nothing with the City Congress to show in the name of high-tech facilities in its central election office except a telephone connection and a fax machine. The situation in the District Congress Committee is also similar.
Ask the City Congress for the Congress manifesto and they would look the other way. The fact remains that the City Congress does not have the copies of the party's manifesto either. Needless to say, they don't even have a copy of the 1998 election manifesto. A City Congress office-bearer had to make repeated calls to the PCC for this year's.
Requests were made for a copy of 1998 manifesto also so that when the candidates face the electorate they could explain what are the 97 per cent of the 1998 manifesto promises fulfilled by the Congress government. The Congress does not have any reference cell either.
Today, when the Congress office-bearer made yet another call to the PCC he got the reply that the manifesto copies were being dispatched to City Congress president Ujagar Singh's residence, as if the Congress affairs was being conducted from Singh's residence.
On the contrary, on a visit to the BJP office one can see all the required facilities available like computer, printer, Internet and photo-scanner.
The BJP staff led by the regional media in-charge and spokesman Govind Maloo has also got a small reference cell. The only thing required more is the photocopy machine. The BJP has also printed its own telephone directory too (containing, among others, the telephone numbers of local journalists) by the name "Sampark".
Nonetheless, it was the efficiency of the Congress office staff led by the City Congress general secretary and spokesman Mahendra Raghuvanshi that the party could provide the lists of active members, block and ward Congress Committees and results of previous polls to all the five candidates contesting from the City constituencies.
Raghuvanshi says, "I have even ensured that the candidates did not have to make rounds of the Collectorate for nomination papers." He provided them the nomination forms.
Though it remains to be seen which of the two parties - the BJP and the Congress -- would score over the other, the BJP has surely beaten the Congress in the context of use of high-tech facilities and managing the election affairs centrally.
The responsibilities given to the Congress units in regard to elections include propagation of the Congress government's achievements, assistance to the candidates, galvanising the senior and experienced Congress leaders, organising public meetings in the constituencies, organising Congress workers meetings in every ward, contacting social and traders organisations and eminent persons in the society for their support to the party, distribution of the material sent by the AICC and the PCC, making arrangements for the leaders who come for canvassing, ensuring co-ordination between the candidates and the party workers, giving befitting a reply to the BJP's propaganda etc.
It can be anybody's guess how the Congress would perform this gigantic task with the facilities (not) available with it.