As the decisive Gujarat assembly election nears, Congress has stepped up work on its manifesto that would hinge on empowerment of women to fetch more support for the party.
As the Gujarat assembly election nears, Congress has stepped up work on its manifesto that would hinge on empowerment of women to fetch more support for the party.
The move was triggered by internal surveys that showed swing votes could significantly come from women in the state which has stayed a BJP-stronghold for past two decades, the Economic Times reported. The surveys showed that unlike male voters, who were inclined towards the Congress, women still preferred BJP, party workers told the newspaper.
Some Congress leaders told ET the party has decided to focus on women while building their strategy in the state, which would offer free education for girls up to post-graduation, a home in the name of senior woman of a household, free institutional deliveries, and some healthcare benefits for poor women. Healthcare benefits may include private hospitals too, the sources said.
Gujarat will go to polls in two phases on December 9 and 14. The counting of votes would take place on December 18.
The numbers for female swing votes could be worrying for the Congress as party workers said some of the 182 constituencies had a third of the women voters supporting the BJP; the percentage of such voters were as much as 50 percent in few urban seats.
They told the newspaper they were framing the manifesto with promises to address issues of price rise, unemployment, affirmative action such as reservation, housing and education.
The election promises would cut across sectors comprising education, healthcare, housing, employment and nutrition.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Sam Pitroda met residents of five cities in the poll-bound state to gather inputs for the upcoming manifesto.
Pitroda’s motive is to understand the problems and demands of common people and draft the manifesto based on that. They are calling it the ‘people’s manifesto’.He told the media the party was taking a “bottom-up” approach instead of a traditional “top-down” one where politicians decide for the people. A lot of people at the bottom of the society have not seen the “trickledown effect” of the top-down approach, he added.