Claiming that the party was regaining the trust of rural voters, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which met under its new president Rahul Gandhi for the first time on Friday, called on building a strategy to entice urban voters.Sources said that during the discussion, leaders pointed out that the party was still to find devices to allure the aspiring middle class and urban voters to its fold in order to unseat the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA in the 2019 general elections.Insiders said the issue cropped up after former prime pinister Manmohan Singh’s intervention, who said that despite the hard work in Gujarat, the party lost the elections because it wasn’t able to connect with the urban voters. In urban areas of Gujarat, the BJP won 45 out of 53 seats. The Congress managed just 8 seats. This was in contrast to rural areas, where the Congress won 69 seats against BJP’s 60.According to the 2011 Census, 270 million Indians aged 16 and above live in urban areas, who also form the backbone of the aspiring youthful middle class.The former PM, who had campaigned in Gujarat’s Surat and some urban pockets while blaming the BJP for the note ban and a faulty tax reform, admitted that the Congress was not able to convince urban voters to switch sides. He said in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress was able to do well in urban areas against all predictions. He stressed that the party must introspect why it hasn’t been able to do well and how it should reconnect with the urban voters.In 2009, the Congress had won 34 of the 57 parliamentary seats in big metros and a majority of the 144 Lok Sabha seats in the country’s smaller cities and towns.Deviating from the ‘Shimla Sankalp’ of 2003, the Congress party’s brainstorming session at Jaipur in 2013 had suggested to focus on the youth, middle class, and women to expand the electoral base beyond Dalits, minorities, and tribals. But there were no matching announcements of schemes to address the new class, which was swayed by the BJP.The meeting participants were also reminded that the party’s youth wing had formed a five-member committee to study an alternate economic model. But since then, the issue was never debated within the party forums.During the discussions, it was also felt to dust out the document adopted at the Jaipur session, which soon went into oblivion after Rahul Gandhi took over as vice-president. The document had asked the party and the then UPA government to recognise the changing aspirations of the people, generate more jobs for the educated youth, and bring gender issues to the top of the political debate.”We have to recognise the new, changing India, an India increasingly peopled by a younger, more aspirational, more impatient, more demanding, and better educated generation,” the document stated.”This is a natural and welcome outcome of rapid economic and social change that has been brought about by the success of our programmes to educate, empower, and indeed unshackle the oppressed and the disadvantaged. Our youth is getting more assertive, it wants its voice to be heard,” the document stated.But with the voters largely fed up with the corruption in the government and the perception build around it, an outreach to growing middle class remained a pipe dream for the Congress.
Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Original article –