Civic polls: To neutralise ruling BJP’s edge, Congress to highlight ‘scanty’ development
Former cabinet minister Dinesh Agarwal says the party plans to highlight how the BJP had “let the people down” over the past nine months of its rule in Uttarakhand.dehradun Updated: Dec 29, 2017 21:02 IST
DEHRADUN: Aware that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will have advantage in the urban local body (ULB) polls due in April next year, the Congress plans to highlight the “scanty” development projects carried out by the BJP-led civic boards across the state as a part of its poll strategy.
The Opposition party recently called a meeting in Dehradun to discuss preparations for the civic polls. The party leaders expressed concern over how the BJP had managed to win the ULB polls in 2013 despite the Congress being the ruling party in the state at that time.
“In civic polls, the ruling party (in state) generally holds an edge, but even when we were in power, they (BJP) had won a majority of seats. It’s high time we reached out to the urban population (where BJP is considered to have a relatively stronger presence),” a senior party leader, who was present in the meeting, told HT.
During the local body polls in 2013, the BJP had won 22 mayoral/chairman positions against the Congress’ tally of 20, and on 180 ward members’ seats against the Congress’ 135.
A section of leaders also pointed to how the party needed to work on “strengthening the organisation activities” rather than harping on the demand to hold elections via ballot paper instead of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
“(Party workers) still reeling under the result of assembly elections. Even more important than the demand (to hold civic polls through ballot papers) is the need to galvanise our organisational activities with a special focus on urban pockets,” another leader, who is seeking a ticket for chairman’s post, said.
Admitting to the concern, senior Congress leader and former cabinet minister Dinesh Agarwal, however, said that the party was planning to highlight how the BJP had “let the people down” over the past nine months of its rule in Uttarakhand.
“Besides failing to fulfil promises made to people in the assembly polls this year, the BJP (which dominates a number of ULBs in the state) has also not been able to carry out the required civic works in their areas since the 2013 polls. Despite more than four years having passed by, the public is still annoyed at broken streets, damaged roads and defunct drains in their wards. We will highlight this inefficiency of BJP-led civic boards when we reach out to the public for campaigning,” Agarwal told HT.