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Cong looking to regain lost ground
Pranjal Bhuyan
 GUWAHATI, Aug 12 - The Opposition Congress is looking at the forthcoming Panchayat polls as an opportunity to regain its old pre-eminent position in the State.

With this objective in mind, the party has already begun a series of programmes across Assam as part of the strategy.

Sources in the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) told this newspaper that the entire State has been divided into zones for the purpose of Panchayat polls and select teams have been formed to look after the party’s electoral preparations across various regions.

“APCC has constituted four-five teams for the Panchayat polls. The State has been divided into zones like Upper Assam, Central Assam, Lower Assam and Barak Valley and one team each has been entrusted responsibility for each zone,” a senior Congress office-bearer told The Assam Tribune.

He said each team has been tasked to ramp up the party’s activities in their respective zones.

“They will coordinate organisational strategies at the booth, Block and district levels. The teams will also mobilise party workers and help in finding suitable candidates at each tier of the Panchayat system. They will also undertake massive public outreach programmes,” he said.

The APCC leader said that the Panchayat polls present the best opportunity to energise the party workers at the grass-root level and rebuild the base, following the setbacks suffered during recent years after the Congress lost simultaneous polls during the 2014 Lok Sabha and the 2016 Assembly elections.

“All the teams have been directed to conduct at least 20 booth-level meetings in each Legislative Assembly Constituency (LAC). In addition, training programmes are also being undertaken for party members at the local level. Each office-bearer from the APCC way down to the booth level has been directed to mobilise new people and nurture them.”

“Besides, as part of a new policy, regular feedbacks regarding activities have to be submitted to the APCC,” said a State Congress leader.

He added that the team tasked with looking after the party’s preparations in the Barak Valley is already visiting the region. The team is being led by senior leaders Dr Durlav Chamua and Romen Borthakur. Similarly, another team led by Dr Bhagirath Karan, Brajen Handique and Numal Bora is in Upper Assam.

Harish Rawat, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister and All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge for Assam, is expected to visit the State soon.

“This time he will visit various districts and meet our local leaders. Rawat will not only review the party’s organisational activities, but also keenly focus on preparation for both the Panchayat polls as well as the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” said the leader.

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