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We are in poll mode

THE CONGRESS is already in battle gear with an eye on the coming Vidhan Sabha elections in the State. In a chat with Hindustan Times, State Congress chief Salman Khurshid outlined the party?s strategy and the issues which the party hopes to cash in on.

india Updated: Jun 11, 2006 01:39 IST

THE CONGRESS is already in battle gear with an eye on the coming Vidhan Sabha elections in the State. In a chat with Hindustan Times, State Congress chief Salman Khurshid outlined the party’s strategy and the issues which the party hopes to cash in on.

Q. What preparations is the Congress making for the coming Vidhan Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh?

A. The Congress’ preparations are going on accurately as per plan.

Q. What will be the Congress’ strategy?
A. We have been able to focus on issues that concern people. There are positive and negative points that the Congress has decided to focus on in the days to come. The United Progressive Alliance Government’s achievements constitute the five positive points. The Congress will focus on the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Right to Information, Bharat Nirman, the Rural Electrification scheme and the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission.

Q. What about the negative aspects?
A. The negative aspects include the utter failure of the State Government to do anything right. The Mulayam Government has failed to improve law and order. Bijli, Sadak, Pani and corruption are other areas of concern.

Q. Which party will be the Congress’ main target in the coming Vidhan Sabha election?
A. The Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party are the two main rivals. The SP and the BJP are hand in glove with each other.
As far as the Bahujan Samaj Party is concerned, the Congress and the BSP are an alternative to each other. The only difference is that we are a better alternative than the BSP.

Q. Some other parties have even finalised their candidates. What about the Congress? 
A. Our selection process is institutionalised. Other parties follow an individual or a personality-based system.
That is the major difference.

Q. When exactly will the Congress be in election mode?
A. We are already in election mode. I have travelled the entire length and breadth of the State. We have been holding Statewide demonstrations. This is no time to sit idle. The coming months will see the Congress in intense action all over Uttar Pradesh.

Q. What about revamping the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee? A proposal to change the District Congress Committee and the City Congress Committee presidents has remained pending for a long time.  
A. I don’t believe in making wholesale changes. Change is a constant process. The process of making changes (wherever necessary) has been set in motion. We have reached an advanced stage. We are the only party, where the organisation matters.Changes are also being effected in the youth and the Mahila wings of the party. I have no personal agenda to pursue.

Q. Will the Congress enter into a pre-poll alliance?
A. There is no serious thought being given to it.
Our concern is on strengthening the Congress. Some smaller parties, are however, in touch with us.
We often share views.

Q. Will you name these smaller groups? Does the PDF have Congress backing?
A. These are very small groups. We do not have any people involved in the PDF.

Q. How is the Congress going to tackle the reservation issue?A. The reservation issue is being finalised. It should not be pre-judged. Some people have seen too much into it and have come out on to the streets.

Q. Will the issue have any impact on the Congress’ electoral prospects?
A. I hope this will improve the Congress’ electoral prospects.

Q. What programmes do you have for the future?
A. We are working out major programmes for the future.