To counter AAP, Congress takes Punjab poll campaign to municipal wards | india-news | Hindustan Times
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To counter AAP, Congress takes Punjab poll campaign to municipal wards

Staring at the possibility of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) hurting Congress’ poll prospects by splitting anti-incumbency votes, former chief minister Amarinder Singh has prepared a ‘hyper local’ campaign strategy that will give assembly polls a ‘municipal election’ twist

india Updated: Jul 25, 2016 22:20 IST
HT Correspondent
Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh speaks at an event in Fatehgarh Sahib.
Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh speaks at an event in Fatehgarh Sahib.(PTI File)

Staring at the possibility of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) hurting Congress’ poll prospects by splitting anti-incumbency votes, former chief minister Amarinder Singh has prepared a ‘hyper local’ campaign strategy that will give assembly polls a ‘municipal election’ twist.

“The new campaign led by the head of the princely family from Patiala is a departure from traditional Congress style of campaign,” claim his campaign strategists.

They added, “His campaign is going to reach every municipal ward. Customised local campaigns are being drafted based on the inputs received during Captain’s trips.”

Singh has hit the campaign trail with his ‘Halke Vich Captain’ (Captain in Villages) programme, as part of which he holds Lokan da darbar (peoples’ court), convenes meetings of state Congress workers and interacts with influential people of a locality.

Between June 19 and July 15, Singh addressed 10 ‘Halke Vich Captain’ programmes. His aides claimed that about 35,000 people attended these programmes and as many as 20,000 petitions on local issues were collected.

“The idea is to connect with people. Captain will promise to setup a task force to address the identified issues within the first 100 days of his government,” say his campaign strategists.

To give ‘municipal’ touch to his campaign, Singh highlighted the issues of sanitation and water supply at a public meeting in Dera Bassin on June 23.

A day before at Jagraon, he spoke about the increase in the number of crimes in the state. His campaign had started from deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal’s constituency Jalalabad on June 19, where Singh spoke about poor government service delivery and law and order menace.

“Such issues may be super local but connect with people more powerfully than generalised state issues. These issues will also help in feeding into the manifesto and giving an insight into real-time problems of people in each constituency,” a member of Singh’s campaign team said.

The team is working on a strategy to connect Singh directly to about 5 lakh people, besides 5,000 media persons and influential people. Similar connect will be established with about 1 lakh Congress workers. The outreach programme intends to connect with a total of 2 crore people through the local campaigns.