‘Vikas ki khoj’ is Congress’ poll theme in 3 states

‘Vikas ki khoj’ is Congress’ poll theme in 3 states

Vikas ki khoj – this is the central theme around which Congress is crafting its campaign in election-bound states of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Targeting students in universities and first-time youth voters, Congress has gone down to the grassroots and asked people to write postcards to chief ministers of the BJP-ruled states on how vikas (development) is missing, party insiders said.
Making a beginning in Chhattisgarh through its students wing National Students Union of India (NSUI), the campaign has taken off with the party’s foot soldiers fanning down to the booth level to look for “missing” vikas.

So far, 50,000 postcards flagging specific complaints over missing development links — be it lack of teachers in our primary school or scarcity of potable water — have been collected and are being sent to Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh who undertook a ‘Vikas yatra’ on a bus in May.

Congress-vikas

Countering Singh’s narrative, Congress bought a rickety bus and has driven it to different constituencies on Singh’s route “looking for vikas”.

Apart from a larger narrative on development, the party is also looking to directly tackle the problem of the youth, said Ruchi Gupta, Congress joint secretary in-charge of NSUI. “For any young person anywhere in India, the three most important things are education, employment and a sense of justice. The party would be directly taking these campaigns to answer problems of the youth,” she said.

In Rajasthan, the party has taken up a massive exercise of training coordinators. For the first time, the students’ wing has appointed 800 block-level coordinators who have been trained in identifying issues and pushing the party’s message. A senior party leader said, “There are 2 lakh government job vacancies in Rajasthan. About 17,000 schools have been closed. Where is development that has been promised?”

With employment being a key promise, the party has implemented a grassroots programme where it has collected job applications from the youth. Gupta said, “In Madhya Pradesh, we have collected 2.5 lakh job applications from young students and the youth. We have set up help desks in each assembly segment. Everybody is being encouraged to fill applications.”

While Congress is promising jobs if it comes to power in the three crucial states, it is also encouraging the youth to send these applications to chief ministers.

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