The Hindu : Feb 10, 2019, 03:53 PM
Reviewing the party’s preparedness for the 2019 polls, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday told State unit heads to be more visible on the ground.Mr. Gandhi met the heads of the Pradesh Congress Committees (PCC) and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leaders to take stock of Congress’ battle-readiness for the Lok Sabha polls.The meeting not only identified key issues such as unemployment, agrarian distress, misuse of investigative agencies, divisive policies the citizenship amendment bill but also decided to highlight the solutions that the Congress will offer.“Along with the negative points against the government, it was decided what we have to offer? For example, the minimum income guarantee is one such solution,” said a Congress leader.Manifesto contentState leaders were told to identify major issues in their respective States and suggest them to the Manifesto Committee that is scheduled to complete its work by February 28 and hand over the document to the Congress Working Committee.The Congress chief, along with K.C. Venugopal, general secretary in charge of organisation, reviewed the progress of tasks assigned to PCCs including strengthening booth level workers, distribution of responsibility, use of the Shakti internal app and the presence of the party on social media platforms.The Congress is keen to finalise its list of candidates by February end-March first week. Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik is learnt to have told Mr. Gandhi that the PCCs should be given greater freedom in deciding candidates.“Rahulji said he won’t interfere from Delhi but State units should recommend candidates only after taking proper feedback,” Mr. Patnaik said, adding that the system of screening candidates now includes State leaders.On the issue of alliances too, the party is keen to tie up at the State level alliances as soon as possible. In several States like Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Congress has former allies like the RJD, NCP, JD(S) and DMK, the parties are yet to work out seat sharing arrangements.Jharkhand with 14 Lok Sabha seats is the only State where the party has worked out a seat sharing deal. While the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) is on board, one of the allies, Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha has expressed its reservation about the allotment of the Lok Sabha seats.