Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has unequivocally told the party state units(Pradesh Congress Committees) that his heart beats for the downtrodden and that’s the catchment area of voters, where the party’s 2014 campaign message must reach.
Not the well-heeled, but those on the fringes of the society--drivers, bus conductors, farm labourers, weavers, plantation workers, dabbawalas, rickshaw pullers, safai karmacharis, et el. In short, groups who are out of the pale of mainstream politics.
An internal note, dated March 5, issued by the AICC headquarters to all the PCC chiefs, CLP leaders and general secretaries and frontal organisations of the party said, “It is essential that the campaign message of the party reaches these groups properly as is being done by Rahul in different parts of the country.”
A list of 34 categories of population thus variously employed in hand-to-mouth jobs, ranging from domestic help to bidi workers, security guards and forest workers, have been attached with the note so that no one has any problems in indentifying who are the Congress scion’s ‘target groups’.
The internal note, it seems, is based on Rahul’s January 17 speech at the AICC session at the Talkatora Stadium--addressing those who inhabit the lower rungs of the employment ladder and are constantly pulled down: “One marriage, one disease, one crop failure, one mishap in their families can push them into severe poverty.”
One of the important tasks, the note advocates, “is to reach some target groups who have a sizable number in our society but political parties and governments have not cared about them so far.”
The reason why these segments of the population have been identified as target group for the Rahul-led campaign is not far to guess, though.
The party and its vice-president believe the UPA Government has “given due attention to their problems and welfare”, so now that the elections are round the corner and it is pay-back time, they should tap into those votes.
The local Congress units have been asked to “ensure that during the Lok Sabha campaign, partymen and candidates get in touch with these sections with a view to seek their full support for the party.”
Signed by the Congress general secretary, organisation, signed by Janardhan Dwivedi, this is supposed to the basic campaign strategy of the party.