Lucknow: Taking a leaf out of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh book, the Congress is busy creating ideology-oriented workers’ base in Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to the high-voltage state polls.
The Congress leadership believes that it is perhaps the only way to counter the ‘false agenda’ propagated by the RSS and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
To begin with, the party is conducting a training programme of its committed workers. As part of the training, the workers are being handed over a booklet, which has 14 chapters, each delving into details the ‘lies and insinuations spread by the BJP-RSS combine and the truth behind it’. The first such ‘insinuation’ which finds mention in the booklet is about the propaganda that Congress supports anti-nationals while the BJP is a nationalist party.
The next popular BJP ‘propaganda’ included in the booklet is: ‘Jawahar Lal Nehru did not allow Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel to become the Prime Minister’.
Others include, “Had Patel been the PM, the country wouldn’t have faced many issues”; “Congress did nothing in the past 70 years”; “Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress leaders did nothing to stop Bhagat Singh from being hanged”; “Nehru kept Kashmir separated from India by implementing Article 370”; “Congress was responsible for atrocities on Kashmiri pundits”; “Congress offered biryani to terrorists”; “Congress only propagated dynasty politics”, etc. Titled as ‘Hum Congress ke log, dushprachaar aur sacch’, the booklet goes on to give detailed explanations on each of the above mentioned lies.
“We need ideology-based workers to counter meaningless propaganda like ‘Jawahar Lal Nehru was a Muslim’,” a senior leader, privy to the training module, told TOI. “Otherwise also, centrist or leader-Centric approach has not been paying dividends organizationally in UP for the past over three decades. Hence, we are now making efforts to build an RSS-like organisation in the run up to assembly elections 2022,” he said.
The concept, he said, had already paid dividends in Chhattisgarh, where the Congress is running a successful government under chief minister Bhupesh Bhagel. In Chhattisgarh, the cadre-based structure has been created till gram panchayat level. “It was divided into three segments. While social media was looked after by former journalist and now Congress leader Vinod Verma, booth and gram panchayat level structure formation was done under the guidance of Congress secretary Rajesh Tiwari. The political structuring was carried out under the leadership of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece late Karuna Shanker Shukla,” said another Congress leader.
Training of workers from UP Congress was also carried out in Chhattisgarh under the guidance of Rajesh Tiwari, who was also parliamentary advisor to CM Baghel.
After his elevation to the post of All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary, Tiwari has been attached to Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s team. The overall training of the workers from Uttar Pradesh is also being looked after by Sandeep Singh, the political advisor to Priyanka.
A senior Congress leader, preferring anonymity, said the training of Congress workers has been completed until block level. “Now, workers at gram panchayat and nyaya panchayat level will get the training. Of over 60,000 village panchayats, training of around 18,000 have been completed. Remaining training is likely to be completed by September 20,” the Congress leader said. Another leader close to Priyanka, who is on a visit to Lucknow right now, said the party aims to create around 2 lakh cadre-based workers by November end.