Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018 | Last Update : 06:35 PM IST

Rajasthan: Sachin Pilot trying to beat BJP at booth level

THE ASIAN AGE. | SANJAY BOHRA
Published : Jun 4, 2018, 6:21 am IST
Updated : Jun 4, 2018, 6:21 am IST

Pilot is now trying to rebuild the old party base to ensure the crucial connect with voters.

Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot and Congress candidate Raghu Sharma flash victory sign after the latter’s victory in Ajmer Lok Sabha bypoll in February.
 Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot and Congress candidate Raghu Sharma flash victory sign after the latter’s victory in Ajmer Lok Sabha bypoll in February.

Congress has devised a formula that if a leader applies for party ticket, his name should be proposed by 10 party workers from each polling booth of that constituency. This will help assess his support.

Jaipur: With  the Assembly elections just a few months away in Rajasthan, state Congress president Sachin Pilot is working overtime to beat the BJP at its own game. He is trying to strengthen the party at booth level that is  considered the party's biggest weakness.

Having kept party leaders and cadres busy in the past four years with rallies, protests and frequent visits to different parts of the state, Mr Pilot is now focused on the Assembly elections later this year and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. For these, he is creating a force of disciplined foot soldiers who stay in touch with people on a regular basis, listen to their grievances and counter the BJP propaganda.

“We want to have a strong presence at the booth level. There will be five to 15 workers per booth whose task will be to cross check voters' list in a bid to remove bogus voters, help new voters enlist or correct their voter ID cards,” Mr Pilot said.

He will also get feedback from them about the party, government and local issues. Also, they will ensure that Congress supporters and sympathisers actually go out and vote. Something the BJP has been successful in doing with help from the RSS, said a Congress leader.

The young PCC chief who took over the reins of the party in Rajasthan at a time when it was reduced to 21 seats in 2013, has been able to boost the party's morale by stellar performances in by-polls winning six Assembly and parliamentary seats out of eight, besides increasing the Congress' vote share in panchayat and municipal elections.

Mr Pilot is now trying to rebuild the old party base to ensure the crucial  connect with voters.

To begin with, a formula was devised that if anyone applies for a party ticket, his/her name should be proposed by 10 party workers from each polling booth of that constituency. To ensure the genuineness of these workers, their personal details are filtered to prevent duplication, random calls are made as part of a verification exercise.

“There is no point having so many names on paper unless they attend meetings and programmes of the party. How can we reach out to the voters if these party workers actually do not exist?” Mr Pilot asked.

Hence, “Mera booth, mera gaurav” programme, initially launched for the by-polls in Ajmer, Alwar and Mandalgarh, has now been extended to the entire state in order to keep the momentum going till the coming Assembly elections. The block and district committees have been directed to organise “Mera booth, mera gaurav” programmes.

Ironically, Mr Pilot launched the programme from chief minister Vasundhara Raje's home turf Jhalawar.

He has also revived the post of ‘sangthan mahamantri’ (organisation general secretary) at district and block levels for better coordination at the ground level. Also, there will be an executive in nearly 10,000 gram panchayats and the recently-appointed block presidents were asked to constitute their teams by May 30.

While strengthening the party at the grassroots level is necessary to revive the Congress in the state, but it comes with some risk. A bitter war has ensued between intra-party rivals on a seat. Congress Kisan Cell state president Sandeep Choudhary was manhandled allegedly by supporters of Alok Beniwal, son of former deputy chief minister Kamla. Both Mr Chaudhary and Mr Beniwal are seeking the party ticket from this seat. With everything going in the party's favour, infighting is the last thing Mr Pilot would want having worked so hard to put the party back on its feet in the past four years, said a leader.

Tags: sachin pilot, 2019 lok sabha polls
Location: India, Rajasthan, Jaipur