New Delhi: Election after election defeat in SC and ST seats has worried the Congress and it feels that not winning the reserved seats is the main reason for its poor electoral performance. For this, the country’s grand old party has shortlisted 56 reserved parliamentary constituencies out of the 121 it lost in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to focus on in the next general election. As part of its ‘leadership development mission’, the Congress wants to identify individuals from SC, ST, OBC and minority concentration seats who have the right skills and mass base to help the party. There is very little time left in the Lok Sabha elections 2024. Congress party has started ‘Leadership Development Mission’ training for coordinators, and it will be launched soon.
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The 28 SC seats earmarked by the Congress are spread across 12 states, while the 28 ST seats are also spread across 12 states. These are the regions where the Congress had finished second in the 2009 elections, and party strategists believe that these regions represent the best opportunities for the Congress. A senior Congress functionary said, “Instead of spreading our resources across the country, it is better to focus on identified areas.” The Congress party will build a dedicated structure of ‘Parliament-seat in-charge’ under its ‘Leadership Development Mission’. The Parliament-seat in-charge will work through ‘coordinators’ in each assembly segment of that constituency.
The task of the Parliament-seat in-charge will be to identify persons capable of garnering support among Dalits, Adivasis, Backward Classes and minorities. Congress sources said, “The Parliament-seat in-charge should be in a position to hand over the list of Congress-sympathizing voters and the campaign plan to the candidate before the election. Because the candidate has hardly a month to reach home for every campaign. Before the Parliament-seat in-charges and coordinators start their work in the field, the Congress will provide leadership lessons to help them develop their skills. With the Congress’s share falling sharply in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, party managers have concluded that this dismal performance is directly linked to the party’s decline in reserved seats, which were once its strongholds.
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Congress sources said the ‘Leadership Development Mission’ is being overseen by Rahul Gandhi’s key aide K.K. Raju is doing, while Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge has termed it as a ‘high priority’. AICC general secretary and organization in-charge KC Venugopal is likely to share the details and guidelines of the ‘Leadership Development Mission’ with all concerned state units. Among the SC seats the focus of the Congress is, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have 4 constituencies each, while Telangana has 3 and Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana 2 each. In ST reserved seats, MP has 6, Gujarat has 4, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have 3-3, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana have 2-2 seats. Apart from this, Congress has also identified 243 SC and ST seats in 5 states – Tripura, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, where assembly elections are to be held in 2023.
Tags: 2024 Loksabha Election, General Election, Loksabha Election 2024
FIRST PUBLISHED : January 15, 2023, 08:01 IST