Rajasthan Assembly Election 2018: Congress changes poll gear, sets up war room teams
Rajasthan assembly election 2018: Top Congress leaders including Congress general secretary Avinash Pande, Mukul Wasnik and leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, are in Jaipur and working on damage control and campaigning for the December 7 assembly election in the state.Updated: Nov 29, 2018 14:38 IST
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
The Congress has assembled its top leaders and assigned them different regions to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan, which goes to polls after a week. The party has also shifted its ‘war room’ from Delhi to Jaipur showing its keenness to do well in Rajasthan, leaders said.
Polling for 200 assembly constituencies in Rajasthan will take place on December 7 and counting will happen on December 11.
Top Congress leaders including Congress general secretary Avinash Pande, Mukul Wasnik and leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, are in Jaipur and working on damage control and campaigning. “They have been given the initial task of convincing rebels to retire from the contest,” a party leader said, admitting that the rebel management has not been very “satisfactory”.
Now, these leaders are contacting party workers, who have clout in their respective areas but have gone inactive after distribution of tickets for various reasons. They have also been asked to keep a close watch on certain local leaders who may indulge in anti-party activities at the last minute to damage the prospects of the official candidates. “We are also trying to manage in-fighting in certain areas which is hampering prospects of certain candidate prospects,” the leader said.
In addition to this, the party leaders said that some of these top leaders have been assigned regions to deal with coordination and resource management. Azad has been asked to visit some Muslim-dominated constituencies where the party believes its candidates can win. Similarly, Wasnik has been assigned the job of coordination.
The party leader quoted above said that they were facing fund crunch even though they have received money from several local contributors. The party could get only Rs 9.09 lakh from crowd funding initiative. The party has transferred initial tranche to the candidates in a bid to boost their candidature.
“With chairpersons of the election committees contesting as candidates, their job has been assigned to the senior leaders, who are member of core committee of war room in Delhi,” another leader privy to the discussions said.
A third leader, who has been assigned the job of getting feedback from constituencies on daily basis, said the party was strong in 150-160 seats with respect to publicity and campaigning but weak in about 40-50 seats week. “As per our feedback we are better of in the seats where experiences leaders are contesting,” the third leader said.
There is a huge demand for former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, state party chief Sachin Pilot and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu from constituencies.
For effective coordination and monitoring the party has also appointed senior leaders division wise
Ajmer (Akhilesh Singh and Imran Kidwai); Bikaner (Sunil Jakhad and Kuldeep Bishnoi); Kota (Akhilesh Singh and Parvez Hashmi (ex-MP); Bharatpur (Bhupinder Hooda (ex-CM Haryana) and Chhaya Verma (MP); Jodhdpur (Vilas Muttemwar and Hari Bahu Rathore); and Udaipur (Rajiv Shukla, Sanjay Singh (MP) and Madhusudan Mystry (MP). In addition to it, 200 assembly coordinators are also appointed assembly wise - all from neighbouring states such as Gujarat, Haryana and Delhi.
Meanwhile, a leader said AICC president Rahul Gandhi will visit the state again on December 1 and hold rallies in Alwar, Hanumangarh, Bhilwara and Udaipur.
Congress expels seven more rebels
In another development, the Rajasthan Congress expelled seven more rebels from the party for contesting as independent in upcoming assembly elections.
On November 25, the party had expelled 28, including nine ex-MLAs from the party for contesting as independent in upcoming assembly elections.
In the office order issued for the expulsion, the state Congress general secretary (organization) Mahesh Sharma states that on approval from AICC General Secretary and incharge Rajasthan Avinash Pande, and direction of state chief Sachin Pilot, the congressmen contesting against party’s official candidate are expelled from primary membership for six years.
The list of expelled include – Jaideep Bihani (Ganganagar); Gopal Gehlot (Bikaner-west); Shivdayal Meena (Todabhim); Mahendra Bhati (Osian); Vijendra Jhala (Bilada); Om Naraniwal (Bhilwara); and Rajkumar Bairwa from Shahpura.
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First Published: Nov 29, 2018 14:38 IST