Cong’s Guj manifesto to serve as template for future polls?

The Asian Age.  | Sreeparna Chakrabarty

India, All India

The manifesto for Karnataka, which was in its final stages, would be submitted to the central leadership of the party by January 15.

BJP workers celebrate with cut-outs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah at the party headquarters in New Delhi on Monday after the party's victory in the Assembly elections in Gujarat on Himachal Pradesh. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Charged by its success in Gujarat, the Congress, it seems, has made its manifesto for the state a template for all other Assembly elections, including Karnataka, which goes to polls as early as March-April next year. Top leaders told this newspaper that the Congress manifesto for Karnataka, which was in its final stages, would be submitted to the central leadership of the party by January 15.

The manifesto committee, headed by senior leader Veerappa Moily, has already covered three out of four zones in the state, top sources said.

Karnataka can be roughly divided into four regions — North Karnataka (which is again sub divided into Mumbai-Karnataka region and Hyderabad-Karnataka region), central Karnataka, South Karnataka and coastal Karnataka (Udupi and Mangaluru).

The Congress is the incumbent and holds 123 seats in the 224-member Assembly. The BJP and JD(S) have 44 and 39 members in the Assembly respectively.

The sources said that the party is likely to borrow heavily from its Gujarat manifesto and keep focus on agrarian crises, farmers loan waivers, job creation and unemployment benefits. Out of the total 224 seats in the state some, 130-140 can be classified as rural. Karnataka has been reeling under a drought for the last almost five years.

In Gujarat, the Congress has benefited majorly from rural votes. It piped the BJP to garner the maximum vote share in rural Gujarat.

The Congress and its allies won 80 seats in Gujarat as against the BJP’s 99. Though not a win, the party claimed a “moral” victory in the state which is the home state and stronghold of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. The Moily-led campaign committee has identified five major local issues as well which would be included in the draft to be presented before the top Congress leadership next month.  

However, in lieu with the Gujarat model of campaigning the party was likely to steer clear of issues which might polarise the electorate. The state has witnessed communal tension in Udupi and Mangalore.

Incidentally, the Congress was supposed to hold its plenary session which would have ratified Rahul Gandhi’s election in Bengaluru the reasoning being that with the state going to polls next year it would have enthused the party cadre. However, now they feel that holding the plenary there would mean that they are using the state machinery to organise party functions.