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Lacklustre campaign may cost Congress dear

By Sujay Mehdudia

NEW DELHI NOV. 30. It was an election campaign that many of the party's contesting candidates and leaders would like to forget. Totally unorganised and directionless, the fortnight long Congress campaign for the Assembly polls was a lacklustre affair and could hurt the party's cause in some constituencies. Worse was the total absence of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee from the poll front and its inability to cater to the needs of the Congress candidates to face up to the BJP challenge.

In comparison, the BJP campaign was well organised and quite visible on the ground due to the immense use of money power. Be it the election meetings for the individual candidates or distribution of election related material, the BJP was far ahead of the Congress party and functioned like a well-oiled machine. The so-called Campaign Committee headed by the Rajya Sabha member, Karan Singh, who does not have much knowledge about city politics, really had no role to play in running the campaign for the party. Dr. Singh only visited the DPCC once when the party manifesto was released. Interestingly, the Committee was constituted only a week before the campaigning was to end highlighting the "callous approach'' of the party in dealing with such an important election.

Except for the "feel good factor'' associated with the Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, the Congress campaign had nothing much to offer. "It is the people of Delhi who want to vote for Congress in general. The organisation has done nothing to warrant such a mandate. If anything goes wrong at the end of the day, then it would only be the party which will have to take the blame as it has failed to rise to the occasion,'' remarked a senior party leader.

It is probably the first time that the DPCC office was not involved with the election related activity in the Capital. The local party office at Talkatora Road wore a deserted look with no one to provide the necessary direction. The candidates were left to fend for themselves as the party did not provide them adequate election related material or finances on time.

There were no unified posters, banners or even flags issued by the DPCC or the party for the election campaign and all the candidates had to get their own posters and banners printed.

"When we sent our election managers to the DPCC office, we were told that nothing was available here. We were directed to the AICC then which again sent us to the Chief Minister's residence. We were running around in circles and the DPCC had no clue about the election and its strategy. We have never seen such a situation in the party,'' a second time MLA remarked.

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