Pitted against a strong anti-incumbency factor and an aggressive Narendra Modi, the Congress internal assessments have shown all but little hope to emerge as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha poll. Instead, the party is now pulling out all its stops to get at least 120 seats.
Supporters carry cutouts of the Congress party symbol during an election roadshow in Mumbai. (AFP Photo)
First five phases of polling are over but 311 out of 534 Lok Sabha constituencies will go to poll between April 24 and May 12. The remaining phases contain states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh where the Congress got substantial number of seats last time.
Officially the Congress maintains it would emerge as the single largest party. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in an interview to Headlines Today said, "We should be the single largest party."
After assessing the latest poll scenario, the Congress strategists feel that 120 seats may give the party a slim chance to prop up a non-NDA government with the help of the Third Front partners. A senior minister from an alliance party added, "110-120 seats can give the Congress a chance to stitch a non-NDA alternative government with the help of Third Front partners," he said.
In a concerted effort to give the final push, Team Rahul is trying to plug other loopholes, like a smooth flow of funds to the deserving candidates. Recently, a young candidate from Tamil Nadu called for urgent release of election fund. In a few hours, a large part of his demand was met.
Sources suggest that faced with a shortage of fund, the party is spending money cautiously. A senior minister contesting in Uttar Pradesh has so far received a bare minimum money from party as his winning chances are seen to be dim.
The party has instructed all general secretaries and office bearers of the AICC to go out for campaigning. Ministers who have finished campaign in their own seats, are now sent to other areas.
The social media team of the Congress—which comprises of around 20-22 young people—have been put on the top gear. "All weekend offs have been cancelled. We report at 9am and return not before 10pm," said a social media worker of the party.
Sources added that the party has prepared a list of key constituencies where it eyes a high chance of wining. A group of coordinators—people mostly with the Youth Congress background—have been selected to oversee these seats and ensure smooth coordination and logistics support.
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