GUWAHATI, June 19 - Close on the heels of the suspension of former minister Gautam Roy and senior leader Ramen Borthakur, the Congress is contemplating disciplinary actions against some other leaders for alleged anti-party activities.
A senior leader told this newspaper that some leaders are indulging in activities detrimental to the interests of the grand old party. Action would be taken against them, he said.
Meanwhile, a post-poll review made by the party revealed that failure of its public outreach programme as well as the BJP�s success in changing the political discourse were behind Congress� debacle in Assam in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
Feedback from its local units have pointed to the Congress party�s lack of success in taking its message to the masses, while also conceding that the BJP was able to �divert� the electorates� attention from issues like economic slowdown and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB to topics like �nationalism� and �Hindutva�.
�Based on the feedback we received during the review, we believe that our outreach programme among the masses failed totally. Our party had entered the electoral arena by focusing on issues like price rise, CAB, poor infrastructure, lack of development, economic downturn, high unemployment and Centre�s deprivation. These issues ultimately did not make any impact. BJP was successful in its strategy of changing the discourse to topics like nationalism, Pulwama-Balakot and Hindutva. Unlike our failure to connect with the masses, the RSS-BJP jan sampark programme was very effective,� a senior Congress leader told The Assam Tribune.
Following its lacklustre performance in the polls, where Congress managed to secure only three seats in Assam compared to nine constituencies won by the BJP, the principal opposition party had carried out a comprehensive review to find the reasons behind its electoral defeat. After analysis and assessment by its block and district committees, the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee had held a State-wide review in Guwahati on June 15.
�We suffered big erosion in our support base among the tea community, which went over to the BJP. The NDA governments at the Centre and the State have done nothing for the social development of the tea community. The wages of the tea garden workers have not been hiked. But just before the polls, the government transferred cash benefits to members of the tea community and that was enough to swing the entire vote of the community in their favour. Such election-centric decisions of the BJP government also affected our performance, as per the review from the ground,� said the source.
The Congress has, however, drawn solace from the fact that it has been able to regain over 40 per cent vote share in its traditional strongholds in the upper Assam districts and believe that this offers the party a good opportunity to bounce back in the coming days.
�Some people are saying that Congress� support base in Assam is now confined only among the Muslim electorates. However, the reality is that we managed to win 42 per cent vote share in the upper Assam districts where the Muslim population is insignificant. A big segment of the Hindu voters, including the Assamese-speaking upper castes and OBCs, remain with our party,� said a leader.
Congress has already announced �Mission 80�, setting a target to win at least 80 seats in the 2021 Assembly polls.
�With this purpose, a �Strategy Committee� has been constituted to formulate plans to activate our party workers and go back to the masses. We will expose the falsehoods being propagated by the BJP and also convey to the masses our alternative vision. In addition, a committee will also be constituted for the upcoming by-elections to four seats of the Legislative Assembly. It will shortlist our candidates and also plan the campaign for the by-polls,� said the Congress leader.
The party has decided to form another committee which will focus on the upcoming polls to various urban local bodies, including GMC.