The Muslim vote bank doesn't seem to be a part of Prashant Kishor's strategy to resurrect the Congress' fortunes in Uttar Pradesh.
Kishor, the man behind both the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) landslide win in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well as the Grand Alliance's (JDU, RJD and Congress) 2015 Assembly win in Bihar, has now taken charge of the Congress' Uttar Pradesh election campaign.
He was in the state for two days to review and formulate the strategy for the upcoming the Assembly elections that will take place in 2017.
The strategySpeaking to Catch on condition of anonymity, a senior Congress leader said that this time the party's focus is on the youth and Dalits. "The party is focusing on young people because they have the spark in them and can bring change and break stereotypes. On the other hand we are also focusing on the Dalits as the party wants to make them realise that it is only the Congress which thinks for their benefit and has immense respect for them," said the leader.
When asked about the Congress' plans to woo the Muslim vote bank, the leader said that the minority cell will look after its strategy. "Our focus is on the Dalits and youths, we can't ignore the fact that the Muslim vote bank is important for us but we have left it for the minority cell, there's no special strategy," he added.
Tickets for young peopleThe party will this time give tickets to those who are 45 years of age or younger, older candidates will only be considered in special cases. According to Ritesh Yadav, President Kanpur Lok Sabha Youth Congress, Prashant Kishor has asked senior leaders to promote members of the Congress' student organisation the National Students Union of India(NSUI). "Chances are high that this time the party will give tickets to some members of the NSUI too, as the students actively participate in the elections and cast their votes too," said Yadav.
Engaging activitiesIn order to engage and mobilise the youth, the Congress has come up with a new plan. Dr. Nirmal Khatri, the State Congress President, has asked the youths for their suggestions on what steps the party should take in order to win the elections.
What's new?Kishor has come up with a new concept that will ensure transparency and simplicity when it comes to candidates being given party tickets.In order to get a ticket from the party, the concerned person will have to make a committee of at least 250 people in the particular assembly seat and will have to develop a plan about how Congress will get the maximum votes. If the person is able to make a committee and the plan gets approved then he/she won't have to jump through hoops and Kishor will get him/her directly connected to Rahul Gandhi."The committees will be formed because the party high command believes that the candidates aren't active enough when it comes to mobilising people. If one person has 250 members in a committee then more people will get mobilised via word of mouth," said Yadav.
In the right directionSpeaking to Catch, Ashok Dhanvik, a senior Congress leader and Organising Secretary of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) said, "I can't tell you the exact strategy as of now, but I can tell you that the party is going in the right direction since Prashant Kishor has taken the responsibility of reviving the party in the state."
"We are winning the elections this time and we will put a full stop to the 'hooliganism' in the state," he added.