Assembly poll results show Congress had a lead over BJP in 9 LS seats; Rahul asks state leaders to work harder and take this tally to 20 in 2019.
New Delhi: Buoyed by his party’s performance in the just-concluded Gujarat assembly election, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has now asked the state unit to win 20 out of 26 seats in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Sources told ThePrint that Rahul gave this instruction to state Congress functionaries during his Gujarat visit on 22 December, his first after the assembly poll results were announced.
He asked state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki to present a list of Lok Sabha constituencies where the party has secured a lead over the BJP in the assembly election, the sources added.
In 9 Lok Sabha seats, the Congress performed better than the BJP and most of them are in rural Gujarat. In four other LS seats, the difference in vote percentage between Congress and the BJP is less either 2 per cent or less than 2 per cent.
Rahul is believed to have told the state leaders that if they work hard, this lead can easily be taken up to 20 in the 2019 election.
“In the next few months, our focus will be on the areas where our performance was not up to the mark,” Solanki told ThePrint.
“While in the assembly, we will keep raising issues concerning people, outside the house, we will expose BJP’s lies and false promises,” he added.
Gujarat has 26 Lok Sabha seats and BJP won all of them in 2014. The Congress had won 11 seats in 2009 and 12 in 2004.
During the one-day review meeting, Rahul separately met newly elected MLAs and leaders from different regions of the state.
There were complaints about some Congress leaders working against the party candidates. Rahul asked for a list of such leaders and promised to take action against them at the earliest.
Apart from that, he is in the process of appointing a new team of young leaders, who have won elections, to improve the party’s performance in 2019.
Sources told ThePrint that a team of two-three young MLAs would be constituted in each region. These teams would work on the ground party and send regular updates to the state and central units of the Congress.
These teams would work under the national secretary in-charge of the region, but they will also report directly to the Congress president.
“A direct communication with the top leadership would motivate these young and first-time MLAs to work for the party,” said a senior Gujarat Congress leader.
In the coming days, the Congress is going to focus on unemployment and inflation as these are the issues, which could attract the urban youth towards the party fold, the sources said.
A reshuffle in the Gujarat state team is on the cards in the wake of the election results.
Note: The story has been updated to reflect the actual number of LS seats where Congress had a lead over BJP.
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