Is the Congress party in Gujarat really equipped to face the next general elections to be held any time in April and May this year?
Though the party had one full year after the December 2007 Assembly elections to plan its strategy and mobilise public opinion in its favour,recent developments indicate that it has not been able to utilise the time and ample resources available to it.
If anything,the Congress response to Chief Minister Narendra Modi,who is leading the BJP charge,has so far been lacklustre.
Though some efforts were made by individuals,the party could not take on its rival by working as a cohesive team.
Individual media briefings by senior leaders like state party chief Siddharth Patel,chief party spokesperson Arjun Modhwadia and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil,in response to Modis efforts to hog all credit for development in the state,have not been very effective.
Observers say the latest development of allotting two districts to each core committee member of the party,including state party chief Siddharth Patel,to supervise the partys preparations for Parliamentary elections,has in fact,weakened his office.
Patel now needs to look after just three districts,Dahod,Panchmahals and Vadodara.
The GPCC chief’s stature was further hit about seven months ago when two executive presidents Tushar Chaudhary from Mandvi and Kunwarji Bawaliya from Rajkot were appointed soon after Patel was nominated to the office.
Thin attendance at a public meeting addressed by Rahul Gandhi on January 30 held on the conclusion of the partys month-long Abhay Udaan,Bharat Mahaan campaign,hinted at the partys poor preparations for the upcoming Parliamentary elections.
According to senior party leaders,centralised decision making and restriction on the freedom of local party leaders also come in the way of strengthening the partys infrastructure.
While Modi is the final decision-maker in the BJP in Gujarat,everything in the Congress is being decided at the central level owing to the existence of multiple power centres in the state, said a senior Congress leader.
Chief party spokesperson Arjun Modhwadia,however, claimed that his party was united in the state and was ready to face the polls.
While the party recently held the Abhay Udaan,Bharat Mahaan campaign,we are also going to organise a shibit to make the party workers aware about the achievements made by the UPA government in the last five years and train them to propagate this message among the people, said Modhwadia.
State leaders to attend Congress national convention in Delhi on Feb 8
Around 250 Congress supporters will attend the daylong national convention of the All India Congress Committee at the Ramlila Ground in New Delhi on Sunday. The meeting is aimed at showcasing the partys work and achievements in the last five years. State party president Siddharth Patel,Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil,state executive presidents Kunwajibhai Bawalia and Tushar Chaudhary and leaders from the Youth Congress and Seva Dal will attend the meet.