Sidelining the earlier tradition to prepare the party manifesto behind closed doors for the polls, Rahul Gandhi has been holding discussions with all strata of society to prepare the manifesto for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. This is an indirect attempt to increase direct participation of the public in the party. The Congress Vice-President has also advocated for creating a system where all the suggestions are collated subject-wise and then considered for inclusion in the manifesto. The party has invited every citizen of the country to give them their ideas and suggestions for its 2014 Lok Sabha Election Manifesto. It is the first party to open up its national manifesto-building process to the general public.
Apart from the Congress leaders, Rahul Gandhi has already held consultations with Dalit groups, tribals and minorities in Delhi for suggestions. The party has also held discussions with students and young entrepreneurs in the IT city, Bangalore. Additionally, he met the women’s representatives from various sections in Bhopal to listen to their demands, keeping in mind that the status of women in India has been subject to many great changes over the past few years and is a highly sensitive issue. A number of prominent women and representatives of self-help groups were invited to attend the meeting.
In the recent series of interaction, he met labor representatives and street vendors to seek their feedback too. While meeting them he reiterated that the United Progressive Alliance government had enacted several rights-based legislations which provided the vulnerable sections of the society with a platform to seek better remuneration. He also promised to push for the clearance of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill in the extended winter session of parliament next month. The participants gave their suggestions, including but not limited to- creating a national commission for labor, uniform wages to Anganwadi workers, social security for laborers in the unorganized sector, increase in pension and protection for women workers.
Apart from the manifesto preparation, Rahul Gandhi has also decided to to select candidates for 15 Lok Sabha seats in consultation with representatives of local bodies, district and block-level workers. All these steps being taken by the Congress fulfill its slogan ‘Mein Nahi Hum’, as the voice of people from all classes will be considered for the final decision when it comes to Lok Sabha polls.
By Aditya Gautam