To counter Narendra Modi,Congress puts states in election mode

Prithviraj Chavan was worried about the pace of work on mega projects.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai | Published: September 4, 2013 2:14:07 am

The AICC has urged the party-ruled state governments to get into election mode in advance on the lines of BJP election campaign committee chairman Narendra Modi. The AICC committee headed by A K Antony has written to all state Congress units to outline the achievements in their respective states and begin the campaign from mid-September to highlight the positives of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.

A senior AICC functionary said: “ Generally,Congress never believes in such advance preparations. But the manner in which Modi is going hammer and tongs using technology for poll propaganda,AICC has decided to effectively counter it across the country.”

AICC officials clarified that the poll campaign highlighting the works of UPA-2 was not going to be confined to the poll-bound states of Delhi,Rajasthan,Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh,but would extend to all other states to create a goodwill ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

AICC functionaries have sought report from states on important decisions taken by their respective governments that could be incorporated in the campaign. The MPCC has been asked to give concrete suggestions on how to make the Central schemes reach people across the country.

The price rise,which has begun to worry the Centre,saw Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealing to the state governments to take measures to mitigate the hardships faced by the people.

MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre said: “AICC has sought a report on achievements in the state that can be incorporated in the manifesto for 2014 elections.” Thakre,who is all set to begin a state-wide campaign from mid-September to highlight the populist schemes of the Centre,such as food security Bill,Right to Information Act and land acquisition Bill,has begun a series of meetings with cabinet ministers in the state and the party leadership.

The three rounds of meetings held at the state level saw the government almost on the backfoot with all mega projects related to infrastructure lying incomplete. Those related to social issues are now being expedited keeping in mind the elections.

Highly placed sources in the government said Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was worried about the pace of work on mega projects. Almost 23 projects across Mumbai and Maharashtra,which requires an investment of Rs 2 lakh crore,are still uncertain and unlikely to be completed before the 2014 elections.

According to the state Congress,all the projects on which work was under way would be forwarded as the coalition government’s achievements. Not surprisingly,even as the Union Ministry of Environment has not given its nod to construction of B R Ambedkar’s memorial at Indu Mills,MPCC has listed this as a major achievement in the report to be forwarded to the AICC. They are also highlighting the initiative taken by the government in crop loans,undermining the growing statistics of farmer suicides in the cotton belt of Vidarbha.

On Tuesday,Thakre held a series of talks with Minister for Social Justice Shivajirao Moghe,Minister for Minorities and Textile Naseen Khan,Health Minister Suresh Shetty,Women and Child Development Minister Varsha Gaikwad and Water Conservation and Employment Guarantee Scheme Minister Nitin Raut. Thakre intends to hold a final meeting with Chavan to make a comprehensive draft to be sent to AICC,painting a rosy picture of Maharashtra.

A senior minister said: “We are left with just six months’ time. And I don’t see how we can work a miracle to complete the mega projects related to industries,infrastructure or agriculture sector,” admitted a senior minister,adding that the situation was same with the departments held by ally NCP.

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