Rahul puts state Cong on poll mode

Rahul puts state  Cong on poll mode

Discusses blueprint with CM, APCC chief Venkat Parsa New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday turned his focus on Andhra...

Discusses blueprint with CM, APCC chief


Venkat Parsa New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday turned his focus on Andhra Pradesh, in order to boost the Congress election prospects in the state. The Congress is preparing for the local bodies elections in the next couple of months and next year is the simultaneous assembly and parliament elections.

The local bodies polls in 2013 are seen as semi-finals before the finals in 2014. Since Andhra Pradesh is an important southern bastion of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi is keen on putting the party into poll mode. He also indicated that he would soon visit Andhra Pradesh.A The Congress, which is facing odds in the State, with parties like the YSRCP, TDP, TRS and Left arraigned against it, is seeking to stage a comeback to power in the state.

Rahul Gandhi is understood to have indicated some immediate steps to be taken in the state. He insisted that the Chief Minister and the APCC president must pull together and present a picture of unity. A He stressed on the need for preparing the party for local bodies polls. When he enquired about the move of certain Telangana Congress MPs to switch over to the TRS, both Kiran Reddy and Botcha promised to sort out the issue very soon.

Botcha told newsmen, "Rahul Gandhi enquired about the strategy on facing the local bodies polls in the state." The APCC president confirmed that the focus was on preparing the party for the polls. Clearly, Rahul Gandhi wanted Kiran Reddy and Botcha to identify the weaknesses and how to address the same. He is understood to have enquired from Botcha on the one-man, one-post principle, to which the latter replied that shortly he would decide on which post to retain.

The blueprint by Rahul Gandhi for Andhra Pradesh includes providing special focus on the vigorous implementation of the welfare programmes; revamping government functioning; strengthening the party organisation down to the district and block levels; reaching out to targeted sections like Dalits and Minorities; and giving a fillip to youth in the party. The entire effort is aimed at beating the anti-incumbency factor in the state and to win the confidence of the people through the implementation of the welfare schemes.

The UPA-I welfare schemes helped the party win the General Election in 2009 and similarly the party must focus on the welfare schemes, which alone will help the party to come back to power. According to party sources, the focus was not on the nitty-gritty like cabinet changes or changing the face of the APCC president. The nitty-gritty is being left to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad to take a call.

Instead, Rahul Gandhi is more focused on evolving a broad political plan for the party in power. For the first time ever, Rahul Gandhi sat for over one-and-a-half hours with Kiran Reddy and Botcha, along with Azad, Congress president's political secretary Ahmed Patel, AICC general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi, AICC treasurer Motilal Vora, AICC secretaries Meenakshi Natarajan and K B Krishnamurthy to take stock of the political situation in the state. Rahul Gandhi is understood to have made inquiries on the level of Central assistance to the state and whether it faced any problems.

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