GUWAHATI: The Congress’s strategy for the forthcoming Assam elections takes a leaf out of its campaign for the 2018 Chhattisgarh elections. At that time too, the party had made several promises to the electorate, the most effective of which was farm loan waiver.
But the strategy in Assam is on a different level as this time the party isn’t making promises but offering guarantees. And the chief architect of this is Naresh Arora of Mohali-based DesignBoxed, who was also the brain behind the Chhattisgarh campaign.
Even without offering guarantees, the grand old party had managed to dislodge the 15-year-old Raman Singh-led BJP government in Chhattisgarh. So, the party is hoping that Arora’s magic would work in Assam too.
The concept of a poll guarantee is new in India, and this seems to have been Arora’s suggestion to the Congress high command. The party’s national general secretary, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, later announced this at a rally in Tezpur. Arora, therefore, is likely to play a key role in finalising the Congress manifesto.
While Arora didn’t speak to the media, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said the party’s guarantees are given by the top leadership and not ‘jumlas’. “It will surely surprise all pollsters and political commentators, just like the Chhattisgarh results. We are winning the elections. We will show that the target Amit Shah has set for BJP is going to be our tally — over 100,” Baghel said, taking a dig at the NDA’s claim of winning over 100 of 126 seats in Assam.
Baghel is in the BJP stronghold of upper Assam as Congress observer. He has called in Arora and his team of experts there.
Expressing confidence in the seven-party grand alliance called Mahajot, Baghel said the Congress coalition with AIUDF, BPF, regional and Left parties is “very strong”. “Together, we are defeating the BJP alliance convincingly. Plus, we are giving our voters what they need the most — no CAA, 200 units of free electricity, Rs 2,000 monthly income guarantee to homemakers, Rs 365 as daily wage to tea garden workers, and five lakh jobs,” Baghel said, adding that Congress will implement everything like they did in Chhattisgarh.
The first phase of Assam elections is scheduled on March 27. And Congress is hoping to pull off a major upset over BJP. But saffron party has also pulled out its big guns, calling 20 star campaigners to the state, the most prominent of whom are Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah, UP CM Yogi Adityanath, BJP national president J P Nadda, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal and key strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma.