With BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi having taken a head start over his rivals in the ongoing general elections, the Congress is worried that its campaign is yet to pick up momentum and needs a thrust for the remaining five phases.
A senior party functionary on Tuesday admitted that the Congress campaign has been slow compared to the BJP’s in general and Modi’s in particular in the first four phases that began on April 7.
Congress sources said a large number of party candidates have complained that the star campaigners were "missing from the action" and it’s only Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi who are doing "most of the talking".
Accordingly, party strategists have decided to launch a more aggressive campaign in the remaining phases. "There will be an escalation in attacks on Modi in the coming days. Sonia and Rahul will also target the Gujarat CM on his development claims," a leader said. "We don’t make personal attacks. Rahul’s remark against Modi was not a personal attack. He just put the facts before the nation."
The central leadership has now drawn an elaborate plan for union ministers, senior leaders and MPs to campaign for party candidates across the country. The candidates whose seats have already gone to the polls have been asked to help colleagues in other constituencies.
While Rahul had started campaigning immediately after the assembly polls in five states in November-December last year and has been addressing three to four meetings a day in as many states, Sonia too has stepped up canvassing for party candidates.
Both leaders have scaled up the offensive against Modi, with Rahul for the first time making a personal attack on the Gujarat chief minister over his marital status. On her part, Sonia has been pitching the coming elections as a battle between secular and communal ideologies.
The Congress chief also made a rare appearance on all Hindi news channels on Monday with a three-minute appeal to the people to vote for her party and not for those "who are out to ruin the country’s Bharatiyata and Hindustaniyat".