The Delhi Congress, after being decimated in the December 2013 assembly elections, faces a similar prospect in the April 10 Lok Sabha election in its sevenconstituencies for a number of reasons.
The recently formed Delhi CongressCampaign Committee has 56 members, and not a single person knows howto run the campaign. The committee met three times in the last week,but has no plan for a campaign. A plan is not the only thing that the committee lacks, it also does not have sufficient financial resourcesto even start countering the BJP's massive campaign; BJP and Modi hoardings are all over the city and radio stations regularly belt outBJP propaganda. Additionally, even if it finds the money to put upposters and hoardings, it will struggle to find billboards as outdoor media space has already been booked by other parties. "We are looking at the municipal sites. If they are available, we shall utilise them," said a Congress campaign committee member on condition of anonymity.
Party leaders are still reconciling with the fact that they are contesting an election without being inpower in the national capital. The Congress ruled the state for 15years, during which time, three Lok Sabha elections took place. Withits own chief minister at the helm of affairs, the Delhi Congress unit and its campaign committee never faced a dearth of funds. Sheila Dikshit's active networking with corporates and lobbyists would payfor the campaign.
But the aftermath of the December 2013election, in which the Congress won just eight of 70 seats, isproving to be too much to cope with for the state Congress.
"Sheila Dikshit would pool inresources and take care of the campaign. But things are differentnow. We have to depend on AICC for everything," said a Delhi Congress member.
The AICC has not allocated a budget to the Delhi Congress Campaign Committee. Itreleases funds after approving a plan or a rally. Corporates too are shying away from donating to the party.
Insiders say thecommittee wants to highlight the achievements of the Delhigovernment. "Delhi's development model is better than that of anyother state. We have planned to highlight Delhi as the best city inthis country," said Subhash Chopra, the head of Delhi's campaigncommittee. Sources confirmed that committee members had met partypresident Sonia Gandhi last week to apprise her about the plan andthe funds needed. However, they were firmly told that the party doesnot have deep pockets.
"We don't havefunds like the BJP, but we have enough to carry on our campaign. Wehave hosted a Sonia Gandhi rally and are organising a Rahul Gandhirally," said Delhi state Congress president Arvinder Lovely.
The campaign hastherefore been restricted to the odd rallies and corner meetings.That and one radio jingle on Rahul, which fills the airwaves.