Banking on Muslim votes, Maken says party stands a chance | india | Hindustan Times
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Banking on Muslim votes, Maken says party stands a chance

They may have been written off in the opinion polls, but Congress leaders are convinced that the party will make a huge comeback in Saturday’s elections.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2015 03:42 IST
Atul Mathur
Congress-leader-Ajay-Maken-at-his-office-on-Friday-holding-last-minute-discussions-Sushil-Kumar-HT-photo
Congress-leader-Ajay-Maken-at-his-office-on-Friday-holding-last-minute-discussions-Sushil-Kumar-HT-photo

They may have been written off in the opinion polls, but Congress leaders are convinced that the party will make a huge comeback in Saturday’s elections.

Senior party leaders said the reports from the ground were encouraging and the party’s own assessment had put them in a winning condition on no less than 20 seats.

“We will hopefully perform better than the last election…our seat tally should be in double digits,” former chief minister Sheila Dikshit told reporters.

Though opinion polls predicted doom for the Congress, campaign committee chief and Sadar Bazar candidate Ajay Maken said he was getting encouraging reports from the ground and the mood within the party camp was upbeat.

“We are getting favourable reports from the ground. The party workers are motivated and enthused. We are going to do really well,” Congress campaign committee chairman Ajay Maken said.

A day after canvassing ended for the February 7 elections, the state leadership and candidates have had extensive closed-door meetings with their confidantes and polling agents taking last-minute stock of the situation. Though a few hours in the morning kept Maken busy at the Congress headquarters at Akbar Road where he was catching up with his work as the party general secretary, he spent the evening talking to his polling agents.

“I had meetings with my polling agents and we had last-minute discussions on preparations for Saturday,” said Maken, who was an MLA between 1993 and 2004.

With the party relying heavily on Muslim votes to take its ship to the shore, several Congress leaders met influential leaders of the community during Friday’s afternoon prayers at local mosques. Sources said the Muslim community is known for voting en bloc for a particular party and the decision is generally taken by the clerics and influential leaders of the community a day or two before the voting.

“The Friday prayers gave us the opportunity to meet community leaders. The response was quite encouraging,” said a senior party leader requesting anonymity.