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Sunday, Dec 08, 2019

Congress plans special panels for poll push, political strategies

The election management panel will be similar to the party’s Central working Committee and the Central Election Committee, and will help streamline the party’s poll campaign strategies across states.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2019 04:46 IST
Amrita Madhukalya
Amrita Madhukalya
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress President Sonia Gandhi addresses at Rajghat to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi addresses at Rajghat to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.(File photo: PTI)
         

The Congress party is mulling two special committees — one for election management and another for creative and strategic ideas — party leaders involved in the process said.

The election management panel will be similar to the party’s Central working Committee and the Central Election Committee, and will help streamline the party’s poll campaign strategies across states. It will be a permanent entity within the party and is likely to have chairpersons of social media, data analytics, communication and research teams as members. Senior Congress strategist Jairam Ramesh is being considered for the post of chairperson, according to several party officials.

The other committee, to help the party ideate and strategise in emerging political situations, will be a revamped version of the party’s civil and social outreach department, also known as the Rachnatmak Congress. The initial mandate of the department, which was to hold more engagements with NGOs, civil rights organisations and activists nationally, will now be expanded.

A senior party leader, who is a chairperson of a department, said the idea of a panel to steer the party’s election efforts has been discussed in the past. “The party has tried to implement election campaign systems in several state polls, with dedicated campaign teams and war rooms. This will formalise the system to handle such assignments,” he added.

The idea of the election committee, according to a party official, took root during the party’s Gujarat assembly poll campaign in 2017, when a campaign management team was formed, with representatives of the data analytics and social media teams. Similar teams have since been engaged in almost all states polls as part of a control room, which usually has representatives from the party’s social media, communications, research and campaign teams.

A Congress leader from a state that held assembly polls after the 2017 Gujarat election said a permanent system will help strengthen the party’s poll efforts.

The revamped version of the civil outreach committee will have teams in all states. A communique was sent to the party’s presidents last week to nominate three people, one of whom should be a woman.

“These persons should be able to carry out the task of establishing a relationship with civil society organisations, NGOs, social organisations, mahilamandals and various other groups registered under charitable laws,” read the communication.

A meeting to discuss the contours of the committee will be called around November 21-23 and a countrywide database of social organisations will be set up as well.