With the Congress’s Mumbai unit riddled with factionalism, the Congress plans to project Rahul Gandhi as the face of the election campaign for the civic polls in the state. The Gandhi scion will be in Mumbai in October to kick off the Congress’s poll campaign for the crucial municipal election.
Election for the Mumbai municipality, the country’s richest civic body, is scheduled for February 2017. The Congress, which was washed away in the Lok Sabha elections and Assembly polls in Mumbai, both in 2014, is desperate to revive its fortunes in the state with the civic polls. When contacted, Mumbai Congress Chief Sanjay Nirupam confirmed that Gandhi would be visiting Mumbai in the second week of October.
The Congress’s election campaign will centre around the accusations of corruption in the Shiv Sena-BJP-controlled civic body. “The civic body is neck deep in corruption. We are planning to bring out a chargesheet revealing the scandals of the BMC,” said Nirupam. The civic body’s book of accounts have gone unaudited for ten years as well, he alleged.
Sounding the poll bugle, Rahul Gandhi’s visit will also see him holding interactions with the party’s grassroot workers in a bid to enthuse them before polls. During his previous visit, he had repeatedly focussed on overcoming the factionalism within the Mumbai Congress unit. Recently, he also held a marathon meeting with the top Mumbai leaders in New Delhi in this regard.
Following this meeting, the Congress is now working on assigning independent responsibilities to all top leaders. There is even a plan to hold senior leaders accountable for the poll performance of candidates who they back, party insiders said. While a public interaction is also on the cards, the party is still working out the modalities for this.
Gandhi had earlier planned to reintroduce the experiment of holding primaries for selecting candidates \aspiring to run on the party’s ticket for the poll but the plan was withdrawn following opposition from some local leaders.