New Delhi: Taking a leaf out of BJP president Amit Shah’s book, the Congress party has begun a humongous exercise of connecting with all its booth level workers across the country with party president Rahul Gandhi himself calling them up to get a feedback on the ground situation, said Pravin Chakravarty, head of the Congress Data Analytics Department.
Speaking exclusively to this newspaper, Mr Chakravarty said as part of the recently launched project ‘Shakti’, “The Congress president calls workers. He just picks a name and calls. He asks (questions like) how many votes we got in the last polls. What do you think now, what do you need to win there and generally what is the feedback.”
Mr Chakravarty said that this has hugely motivated the workers. “There are people (Congress workers) who have said that in the last 25 years, we haven’t seen beyond the district president.”
The political economist and former investment banker said ‘Shakti’ also grades party workers based on how active he or she is. The points are cumulative, based on tasks that have been given. There are incentives and rewards based on these points. For example, some are promoted to being office bearers at district and even state levels.
Three top performers from poll-bound states of Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh were awarded by Mr Gandhi on August 25.
Explaining the concept behind the project, Mr Chakravarty said the Congress has realised that there is a need to connect with the party’s ground force and through them connect with the voters as compared to the “other way is what I call is the airway. Big rallies, big media, social media and all”.
Here “we first try to know who are our workers, sympathisers and leaders”. There are 10 lakh polling booths in the country, we will have 20 workers per booth which is two crore in total.
Questioned as to whether the concept was somewhat similar to the BJP’s ‘Panna Pramukh’ programme, Mr Chakravarty said: “I would say the end goal is same, but I do it in a very different manner. I use data technology and a more scientific manner”.
He added that in just four months since he took over his department has identified nearly one crore workers. “It is very personalised and customised”.
The aim is to identify workers, communicate and engage with them and identify which are the weak, medium and strong booths in the country and we have already done this for all 10 lakh booths. We also have an idea of which booths to focus on.
Shakti has been till now launched in nine states, including Rajasthan, Chatt-isgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Maha-rashtra and Jharkhand. It would be launched in West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh next week.