Mega campaign to strengthen party to gather steam later

The Congress' plan on launching a new programme to strengthen the party organisation seems to have undergone a slight change with party leaders getting a feeling that the immediate focus should be on the drought across Karnataka and the government's failure to provide succour to the affected people.

The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee had planned a mega campaign ‘Join Congress, bring about a change'.

The objective was to strengthen the party from the grassroots level.

The campaign will now be symbolically launched as scheduled on April 8 even as party leaders go full steam highlighting the government's failure to tackle the drought. The campaign, however, would be taken up in full force from April 28, after the visit of All-India Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The Congress campaign on drought involves direct interaction with people in all the 224 Assembly constituencies. The party will highlight the failures of the BJP government on all fronts.

Three teams of Congress leaders will undertake a tour of the drought-affected districts.

Thus, the “Join Congress …” campaign would be would be transformed into a tour of the drought-hit areas.

Sources said the change in the plan had been made with a view to avoiding any criticism from the BJP that the Congress was concentrating on party conventions and not focussing on the sufferings of the people.

The teams will be led by Dr. Parameshwara, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah and Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Motamma. The teams would also assess the drinking water needs, employment, and fodder for cattle in the affected areas.

The change in plan, according to sources, came after Mr. Siddaramaiah and Congress Deputy Leader in the Assembly T.B. Jayachandra who felt that the party should concentrate on drought relief, as the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had already taken lead in the matter.

Noticing the reported difference in perception on issues between Mr. Siddaramaiah and Dr. Parameshwara, party leader Ahmed Patel summoned them to New Delhi, where they met Ms. Gandhi.

They were told to first visit the drought-hit districts and that the ‘Join Congress…' programme could wait.

A KPCC general secretary denied reports in a section of the press that the programme had been cancelled and maintained that it would be taken up with vigour after April 28, when Ms. Gandhi would participate in the 105th birthday celebrations of the Siddaganga Math's Shivakumara Swami in Tumkur.

More In: News | Karnataka | National