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Prashant Kishor only planning, party will take campaign forward, says Nirmal Khatri

We will identify good people who can spread the Congress campaign at the grassroots and Kishor’s team will do what they are best at — preparing campaign and strategy.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow |
May 26, 2016 1:38:03 am
uttar pradesh elections, uttar pradesh congress, prashant kishor, UP congress,2017 UP campaign, nirmal khatri, indian express news, india news UPCC president, Nirmal Khatri

What are the party’s challenges and what role will Prashant Kishor play?

The problem here is that leaders have lost touch with the second line who, in turn, have lost touch with the public, wondering whether their efforts would be rewarded or not… Now for the party’s revival and to connect with people, one part will be handled by us and another by Kishor. We will identify good people who can spread the Congress campaign at the grassroots and Kishor’s team will do what they are best at — preparing campaign and strategy. In 2012, Rahul Gandhi addressed a large number of rallies, which attracted huge crowds, but we failed to turn that into votes. The reason was that we did not have people on the ground who would chant “Congress, Congress” after that meeting. This time, Kishor and his team will do the job of organising such people for us.

Isn’t there resentment about Kishor’s practice of meeting leaders individually, his promises of direct meetings with Rahul and a general perception that he will play a role in ticket distribution?

There is no confusion about the fact that Kishor will have no role to play in the party’s organisation or ticket distribution. This has been made clear at the PCC as well as the AICC… Kishor is an expert who is here to plan our campaign and give us the additional push. His promises of a meeting with Rahul, or seeking details of 250 workers from probable candidates, are part of the exercise to boost workers’ morale. His role is that of campaign planning and strategy making only… Ultimately it will be our workers who will take the campaign forward.

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How active would the state unit want Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi to be in the UP elections?

I personally believe it should be left to the family and the party president to decide the role they want the family to play, rather than anyone else to predict or urge.

There has been a demand to project a chief ministerial face for UP, especially a Brahmin. Is that proving difficult?

I too believe the party can indicate someone as a face for the election, if not declare it officially, but the fact remains that a face cannot be just a name. A leader turns into a face through struggle. For 26 years, the party has been out of power. We have had Brahmin, Thakur as well as SC state presidents but that does not mean that party was able to attract the votes of that community. I don’t see any such leader of a particular caste in UP. This could also be because the party does not believe in caste-based politics…

With Bihar CM Nitish Kumar campaigning in UP, the BSP extending a helping hand in Uttarakhand, is the Congress ready for an alliance in UP?

Let me make it very clear… the Congress is not going into a pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party or the BSP. The rest is on the high command to decide.

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