Seeking to ride on the popularity of Indian Premier League (IPL), the Congress is now using cricket as a tool to attract the youth to the party.
The party is organising cricket tennis ball tournaments across Maharashtra — from block to state level — as part of the year-long programme to celebrate its 125th anniversary.
While the Youth Congress under Rahul Gandhi has taken many initiatives to attract the youth, the political cricket idea of India's grand old party is to connect with the rural youngsters who have little or no access to such sports facilities.
“We came up with the idea of organising cricket tournaments to attract the youngsters from Maharashtra, particularly those from rural areas, to the party,” said Congress spokesman and AICC secretary in-charge of Maharashtra Mohan Prakash.
The tournaments, organised by the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, have so far been conducted in all the blocks of the state, and is now being held in districts. These would eventually move to the state level. The party has arranged not only the stadiums and kits but also refreshments.
The response, according to Prakash, has been overwhelming. “A large number of people come to watch these matches. They have appreciated our efforts,” he said.
The party is also organising social and cultural activities such as one-act plays, drawing, singing and rangavali (colour) competition. Besides, blood donation camps, seminars, documentaries and film shows, exhibitions, AIDS awareness and medical camps are being organised.