Friday, Oct 20, 2017 | Last Update : 03:50 PM IST
Party’s spin doctors working out strategies to cultivate women voters ahead of Guj polls.
New Delhi: In its bid to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is said to have a huge following among women voters, Congress is working overtime to woo women as a separate vote bank. Congress spin doctors are working out strategies to cultivate women voters by “repositioning” the party ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls and later the general elections in 2019.
While the clarion call for this strategy was given by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi recently at a Mahila Congress meeting in Rajkot in Gujarat — the home turf of PM Modi — the implementation is being planned by newly-appointed Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev.
As part of this new strategy, Mr Gandhi is expected to hold a meeting with Mahila Congress leaders from across the country.
“Mahila Congress is the only organisation which can effectively carry out a door to door RSS-style campaign,” Ms Dev told this newspaper.
Elaborating further on the party’s strategy, she said Congress feels that the youth are already alienated from the BJP government due to a job-less growth.
“It is the women next who are unhappy. What has hit home is the price rise, and it is the women who are the most affected. The challenge is to convert this disillusionment into votes. That is my job,” Ms Dev said.
Congress has to reposition itself vis-à-vis the women voters, she said, adding that her party needs to look at women as a separate vote bank.
The Silchar MP feels that though there is a general feeling that women vote on the lines of what their husbands and families tell them to do, it is not always true.
“You have to just look at the quality of leadership among the women in rural areas and at the taluka level,” she said.
The turnout of women voters during the 2014 parliamentary elections was 65.63 per cent as compared to 67.09 per cent of men voters. In 16 out of the 29 states of India, more women voted than men.
Congress has also been quick to take leverage of BJP’s expressing its intent to bring the Women’s Res-ervation Bill in the coming Winter Session of the Parliament. “The party plans to seek complete implementation of the bill and not mere passage of the legislation in Parliament,” said Ms Dev.