It was a pep talk that came with a little self-praise — and quite deservedly so. Prashant Kishor, the poll strategist who has been hired by the Congress to revive its fortunes in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, Tuesday said it takes all of “six months to change the direction of any election”.
He said he did it in six months for BJP by creating a “Modi wave” in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and exuded confidence that something similar can be done for Congress in UP, where Assembly polls are scheduled early next year.
“March se kaam shuru kiya. Chhah mahine mein to pura desh ‘Modi Modi’ ho gaya (I started the work in March and in six months the whole country was chanting Modi’s name),” Kishor said while addressing a gathering of about 600 block presidents of Congress in Lucknow.
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He said BJP had announced Modi’s candidature in October, 2013 while his constituency was declared in March, 2014. Riding on the “Modi wave”, BJP went on to secure a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections winning 282 of the 543 seats.
Asking the Congress workers not to get disheartened by the fact that other parties were announcing candidates for the Assembly polls, Kishor said his task was to “tie their strength with one thread”. He said apart from winning the elections, the Congress workers should also learn to respect themselves.
“No one is going to respect you until you respect yourself,” Kishor said while assigning three tasks to the block presidents —- complete the formation of block-level committee having at least two members from each ‘nyay panchayat’ , call its meeting and prepare the list of issues that can be included in the party. He also asked them to suggest probable names of candidates by passing a resolution in next 10 days.
“You complete the formation of committees and I will ensure that (Congress) vice-president (Rahul Gandhi) personally comes here to meet you and you do not have to take rounds in Delhi,” Kishor said.
As large number of workers complained that they do not have offices at block level, Kishor asked each block president to identify houses, buildings or land that can be converted into party office. “You give me details about the address of the house, building or land with its rent and I will arrange an office for you,” he told the block presidents.
Earlier in the day, AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry and state party president Nirmal Khatri informed that Rahul Gandhi will soon be invited to address about 25,000 to 30,000 selected workers from different parts of the state in Lucknow.
Mistry, who was part of the meeting earlier in the day, said once ongoing Assembly elections in four states are over and the results declared on May 19, the entire focus of the party will shift to UP. He said the party will also take up special campaign in Bundelkhand.
“Soon after the meeting of party workers in Lucknow, senior party leaders will camp in Bundelkhand, undertake yatras and also hold chaupals to raise the issues that the region is facing and build pressure on the state government to perform,” added Khatri.
Meanwhile, sources informed that Mistry assured the workers that soon selection committee, scrutiny committee, campaign committee and election committee will be formed to pick the candidates for 2017 elections. He also indicated that some non-performing district presidents will be removed.
While sources in the party claimed that there are seven such district presidents who will be removed from their posts, Khatri refused to divulge names saying it will be made public soon.