iconimg Saturday, May 23, 2015

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 31, 2012
In a bid to dent the ruling BJP's prospects in the assembly polls in Gujarat, the Congress is eyeing cities to improve its tally.

Congress strategists have asked its leaders and workers to put in extra hard work in urban centres where the party fortunes have been on the decline for several years now.

"We know it well that our weakest ground is urban Gujarat… that is why we are putting extra efforts in cities," said a Congress leader.

Gujarat has eight cities - Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Gandhinagar -and the Congress has fared badly in all the previous four assembly polls. In the 2007 state polls, it won just 5 out of the total 46 seats in these eight cities.

There is a realisation among Congress leaders that the road to Gandhinagar goes via these eight cities. Accordingly, the party is planning massive campaign in these urban centres.

Apart from meetings in wards and assembly segments, the party is holding special programmes to woo dalits, other backward castes, minorities and women in these areas.

As part of its poll strategy to attract urban voters, which constitute over 40% of the electorate, the party has come up with a "Better City, Better Life" campaign.

The Congress has announced that that it will take measures related to urban development, town planning, slum-free cities, mega townships and an autonomous traffic authority for better movement of vehicular traffic in the state if voted to power.