Amethi: All eyes are on the high-profile battle of Rahul Gandhi-versus-Smriti Irani in Amethi that will vote in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha election. To save the Congress stronghold, party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra has reportedly prepared a seven-fold labyrinthine strategy.
1. Cordon of Priyanka: Youth Congress, NSUI talk to villagers
Youth Congress is entrusted with the task of talking to the ordinary folks in villages in the constituency. Gandhi-Vadra knows that the BJP has thrown all its weight behind Irani’s campaign in Amethi.
The young Congress workers keep a tab on the actions of the rival. Up to 500 workers of Youth Congress and NSUI have made a team spread out in the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency. Twenty of them are deployed for every assembly constituency. These 20 are further divided into five numbers each. A group of five visits four separate zones of an Assembly area and watches the meetings of the BJP. They then give their report to the head of the zone.
2. Priyanka appoints ‘commanders’ for Assembly areas
Each of Amethi’s five legislative assemblies is being manned by a ‘commander’. The MLAs who have been elected from here since the time of Rajiv Gandhi are working as bridges between MP Rahul Gandhi and the people of the respective Assembly seats. Handling public displeasure, complaints and addressing them, making the right arrangement for these purposes, etc are the responsibilities of these former MLAs. They report directly to Gandhi-Vadra.
The daily reports from these teams are discussed at 10 PM. The last topic of discussion in these meetings is how to counter the BJP’s moves.
So, Gandhi-Vadra attends the meeting of all those pockets that have been addressed by Smriti Irani.
3. Daughter or sister, Priyanka would be to a voter anything that works!
Gandhi-Vadra is making an emotional appeal through her neighbourhood and door-to-door campaigns. As a daughter of some voter or a sister of another, she takes the liberty of admonishing a few of them too.
Gandhi-Vadra targets the BJP by alleging it is hurting the honour of Amethi. She alleges that bribes of up to Rs 20,000 are being distributed among gram pradhans for votes. She further makes it a point to visit these pradhans and appeal to them to return to the Congress fold.
4. Emotive appeal
Those who have an emotional connect with the Congress are being told that the bribe is an assault on their self-esteem and therefore they should return the money.
The way Gandhi-Vadra is working can be viewed from the opposite angle where it would seem a big lot among the voters of Amethi are disillusioned with the Congress indeed. And Gandhi-Vadra knows that!
5. Influencing the influencers
After the announcement of Rahul Gandhi’s name, when Gandhi-Vadra came to Amethi, she addressed senior people in a separate meeting. The idea was to influence the different community groups and sectarian voters, softening those senior people and reorienting them to the ideology of the Congress and charm of Rahul Gandhi. District panchayat heads, town councillors and BDC were included in that meeting.
6. Workers’ confidence building
After Gandhi-Vadra came to Amethi this year, she addressed three gatherings of Congress workers alone. Party workers were called from around 1,700 villages of Amethi. A list of 400 great works by the party and another of 4,000 smaller projects were made so that Rahul is not caught on the back foot in the face of BJP’s sharp attack.
Gandhi-Vadra is constantly in touch with the workers. She is working to increase their confidence by giving them special attention. In addition, booth committees have been targeted to encourage more voters to come out of the house. Gandhi-Vadra is trying to ensure that the voter turnout exceeds the 2014 level of 52% this time.
7. Congress on social media
Young voters are crucial in Amethi. This is the reason why in Amethi a different war-room has been built for social media. An NSUI social media team engages with voters on social media for 24 hours. They have been given the responsibility of localising the election campaign of Amethi via Facebook and WhatsApp. Videos and messages are sent to the active members of every village, who, in turn, have been asked to forward the messages to other groups of Amethi’s voters. Every message contains information related to NYAY, an election promise of the Congress.
Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra often talks about replicating the party’s Amethi-Rae Bareli model across Uttar Pradesh. A positive result from Amethi will suffice as a certificate of her style. At some point, it will also secure the position of the dynasty in Congress.
For all reports related to the Lok Sabha election of 2019, please visit this page.