While the SP has been organising agitations and the BJP holding rallies in preparation for the 2012 Assembly elections in UP,the Congress is reaching out to people and motivating its workers by organising meetings at the grassroots level. Away from hype,Congress ministers,MPs and senior party leaders are visiting various parts of the state,addressing these meetings.
In past one month,party leaders have held public meetings in 104 Assembly constituencies and 50 district and city-level workers meetings. of 50 districts. By May-end,the party plans to hold public meetings in all 403 Assembly constituencies and workers meetings in all districts.
State Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi has addressed the maximum 25 meetings,while Union Minister of State Jitin Prasada has addressed 17. PL Punia,Pramod Tiwari,Avinash Pandey,Parvez Hashmi,Sriprakash Jaiswal and others have addressed about 10 meetings each. Raj Bahadur and Balihari Babu,both of whom were founder members of the BSP and are now in the Congress,have been asked to concentrate on areas where the BSP has a strong presence. Union Minister Salman Khurshid is expected to start his round of public meetings later this month.
The workers meeting are meant to motivate the cadres to sink their differences and also to educate them about the issues they should take up. Another purpose is to get feedback from the areas and know the local issues that need to be highlighted at the state level.
On the other hand,the public meetings are held to connect with the voters in each Assembly segment,and mobilise people against the misrule of the BSP government,the corrupt practices in implementation of welfare schemes,involvement of BSP leaders in crimes and highlight the measures taken by the UPA government,like Bundelkhand package,welfare schemes for weavers and minorities,and so on.
The third purpose of the meetings is to study the changed political complexion of the constituencies post-delimitation.
We were out of power for over two decades in the state. Also,after delimitation it became difficult for many of our leaders to identify their strong and weak areas. Thus,these meetings are serving many purposes,they help us identify the focus areas,mobilise the locals,motivate workers,and identify important local issues, said a senior party leader.
Though the Congress has planned to hold five big rallies in different parts of the state,grassroots mobilisation is the partys priority. The first of the rallies will be addressed by Digvijay Singh,AICC general secretary in-charge of UP,and some Union ministers at Basti on April 24. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi will address a rally in Banda in Bundelkhand on April 30. These will be followed by rallies in western and central UP,at least one of which will be addressed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Last year,the party had made an attempt at mobilisation by taking out Sandesh yatras which started with a bang but later fizzled out because of lack of interest of senior leaders. Sources said this time,the party president has sought full participation by senior leaders,including ministers.
Union ministers visiting Lucknow have also been instructed to visit the party office and meet local leaders.
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