The grand-old Congress is learning to fight elections the volunteers’ way. While the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is replicating in Punjab a model that helped it post a stunning victory in the Delhi assembly polls, the Congress will use poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s plan that worked for Nitish in Bihar.
Arvind Kejriwal’s party, however, has taken the lead in enrolling volunteers for its door-to-door campaign, Parivar Jodo, to take its policies and agenda to the people. The Congress intends to follow the AAP, village to village, door to door, by creating its own army of volunteers, starting next week. Amarinder is monitoring the enrolment programme personally and the volunteer wing office is within his Sector 10 residence in Chandigarh, where a core team will be trained to bring in more volunteers.
“We have to reach out to people in villages and towns. For this, we need a dedicated team of volunteers. Gobind Khatra and Brinder Dhillon of party’s student wing NSUI (National Students’ Union of India) will manage the enrolment programme,” Amarinder told HT on Saturday. While he tries to woo young voters in colleges and universities through his interactions, on ground and via Skype, the volunteer wing will use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to reach out to the youth and ask them to join. On it are youngsters such as Pushpdeep Sekhon, who have quit their high-profile corporate jobs to work with Amarinder.
“We will enrol the volunteers who will take Amarinder’s message door to door, to those not inclined towards any particular party yet. It is a chain process of engaging volunteers to make more volunteers,” said Sekhon. On the lines of the four-page pamphlet the AAP is distributing among families to make them aware of Kejriwal’s views on Punjab’s shattered economy, drug menace, and farmers’ suicides, the Congress is ready to distribute its own variant with Amarinder’s message on it.
Along with the pamphlet, the AAP volunteers carry a colourful sticker holding the slogan ‘Punjab nu bachaun layi main ate mera parivar Arvind Kejriwal ate Aam Aadmi Party naal (To save Punjab, my family and I are with Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP)’, which they paste outside the homes of those ready to support them. The party has also developed a mobile-phone application to collect the data on all families, something the Congress also intends to do, to outwit the AAP in the numbers game.