NEW DELHI: The Congress will launch an "affirmative and positive" campaign in Rajasthan to counter the "acrimonious" charge of the BJP and advocate a new model of governance while highlighting the failures of the state government, Member of Parliament Sachin Pilot has said.
Buoyed by the results of recent bye-elections to local bodies, where the Congress fared well, the party has decided to strengthen its base at the booth level and reach out to the masses through an aggressive mass contact programme to be launched soon, the Rajasthan Congress chief said.
“Unlike the BJP, the Congress campaign will not be reduced to their level of acrimonious campaign and will not be negative. We will instead launch an affirmative and positive campaign, where the failures of the Vasundhara Raje-led government will be highlighted,” Pilot told PTI.
The party has already launched its “Mera booth, mera gaurav (My booth, my pride)" campaign and will soon unroll its mass contact programme across the state.
He said the Congress did not seek to reach out to the people merely on the failures of the BJP, but would offer them a better alternative.
“We will present the people with the blueprint of a model of alternative governance which will be holistic and inclusive, will care for the young and old, create jobs and have a vision to take the state forward,” he said.
Pilot said the workers in the state were already geared up and ready to tackle the BJP now that Rahul Gandhi had taken over the leadership of the Congress and infused new energy into it.
The Rajasthan government has nothing to show for the four years that the BJP has been in power in the state, he said, charging it with selling off assets to generate money.
This, Pilot stressed, was poor fiscal management.
He alleged that the state’s assets, including buildings, schools, roadways, hospitals and other infrastructure, were being sold to a select few in the name of public-private partnerships.
“This is nothing but an example of poor fiscal management. Such a policy where precious assets of the state are given out to a select few at throw-away prices smacks of crony capitalism," he said.
Once voted back to power, the Congress would "review and reverse all such decisions taken arbitrarily" and re-acquire the state’s assets, he added.
Pilot said the Congress, which faced a “historic defeat” in 2013 when it could win only 21 of the 200 Assembly seats, had got its vigour back and in the just-concluded bypolls had won seven out of 14 urban local bodies.
He said the vote share gap between the Congress and the BJP, which had widened to 25 per cent, had narrowed down to 1.5 per cent in the state Panchayat elections held last year.
In the Panchayat polls, the Congress won 45.5 per cent of votes against the BJP’s 47 per cent. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress was down to 31 per cent, compared to the BJP's 56 per cent.
The former Union minister said the Congress party would now aggressively take its campaign forward while highlighting the problems of the jobless, farmers and the common man.
This, he said, would be done through public rallies and by underlining the Congress's plans for the future.
The Congress will "force" the BJP government in the state to announce farm loan waivers to help ease the burden of debt that farmers faced, he said.
Pilot wondered why the government was dithering over loan waivers when it could bring in a law that allowed former chief ministers to select a house for their lifetime.
"The people of the state did not vote the former chief ministers in so that they could have the power to have a house for life,” he said.
Asked about the “Mera booth, mera gaurav” scheme, he said every leader would be put in charge of a booth and would launch a mass contact programme to reach out to every voter in the state.
There are a total of 51,000 booths in the state.
Rajasthan goes to the polls in 2018, along with Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.