Today in New Delhi, India
Nov 17, 2018-Saturday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Congress to appoint 10 million booth ‘sahyogis’ for 2019 election

Ahead of the 2019 elections, Congress plans to reach out to people to raise awareness about various issues with special focus on first-time voters.

india Updated: Sep 29, 2018 11:24 IST
Sachin Saini
Sachin Saini
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,2019 Lok Sabha election,Lok Sabha election
First-time voters will get a letter from Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the circular quoted organisation secretary Ashok Gehlot as saying. (PTI)

As part of its new strategy for the 2019 general election, the Congress will appoint 10 million ‘booth sahyogis’ for a nationwide mass-contact and fund-collection programme set to be launched on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, a party circular issued last week said.

With the Lok Sampark Abhiyan, the Congress plans to reach out to people to raise awareness about various issues with special focus on first-time voters. Ten ‘sahyogis’ will be appointed per polling booth to fan out to 25 households assigned to it. The drive, which will continue till Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary on November 19, will be launched from Sevagram in Maharashtra, where the Congress will hold its working committee meeting.

First-time voters will get a letter from Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the circular quoted organisation secretary Ashok Gehlot as saying.

As part of its new strategy for the 2019 general election, the Congress will appoint 10 million ‘booth sahyogis’ for a nationwide mass-contact and fund-collection programme set to be launched on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, a party circular issued to all state units last week said.

Christened the Lok Sampark Abhiyan (mass contact programme), the Congress plans to reach out to people to raise awareness about national, state and local issues with special focus on first-time voters. Ten ‘sahyogis’ will be appointed per polling booth to fan out to 25 households assigned to it.

The drive, which will continue till Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary on November 19, will be launched from Sevagram in Ma- harashtra , where the Congress will hold its working committee meeting. First-time voters will get a letter from Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, the circular quo- ted the party’s organisation secretary, Ashok Gehlot, as saying.

“The abhiyan is also aimed at appointing 10 million young booth sahyogis,” said a Congress leader familiar with the development, adding that any information collected about voters and donors could be synergised with the party’s Shakti app that monitors the performance of workers on the ground.

The circular comes after the Rajasthan Congress conducted its ‘Mera Booth Mera Gaurav’ programme in the state’s 200 assembly constituencies to establish a one-to-one connect with the people ahead of the year-end assembly elections. A similar programme has been started in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh as well, and is now being replicated nationally.

According to the Congress circular, the sahyogis will publicise the party’s ideology, update people about local and national issues, and expose the so-called failures of the NDA government. They will also collect data from their designated areas on whether non-resident Indian relatives of voters, social and community groups, cooperatives, traders and opinion-makers are pro-Congress, the circular said.

Another task of the sahyogis is to collect funds through door-to-door outreach, for which they will be provided booklets with receipt slips for donations of ~50, 100, 500 and 1000, it said. Detailed guidelines have been provided in the circular on how to collect funds in a transparent manner in the light of the 2017 budget stipulation limiting cash collection to ~2,000 only.The Congress has also asked sahyogis to inform people about electoral bonds, which the donor will have to hand over to the party within 15 days of issuance. The sahyogis have been instructed to accept donations above ~200 by cheque or RTGS, and above ~20,000 with permanent account number details.

A party leader familiar with the matter said the funds collected from each state would be equally split between the national and state units -- 50% to the AICC and 50% to the state units. He said the AICC general secretary in charge of each state has been asked to monitor the progress of the campaign.The circular details how the sahyogis will be selected at the ground level by block Congress committees. If they perform well, they will be given incentives, including election tickets or positions in the party. For every 100 sahyogis, there will be an area booth coordinator to monitor their work.

A senior leader familiar with developments said the national party president had approved the launch of the nationwide Lok Sampark Abhiyan. This will be an annual exercise from 2020 onwards, and will run between January and February every year. But this year, the programme has been brought forward in view of the 2019 elections.

First Published: Sep 29, 2018 07:08 IST