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Congress war room - drawing up victory strategy
Sunday October 27, 2013 9:29 PM, IANS

Just across the bungalow of Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati in the heart of Delhi is another address - 15, Rakabganj Road -- the Congress party's war room where a group of 25 young men, a mix of media and IT professionals, is drawing up the strategy for battle 2014.

With entry only for select party workers, the party formally describes this as the Congress Coordination Centre (CCC).

From behind the iron grille gate of this Lutyen's era bungalow, the hawk-like eyes of private security guards glare at you with suspicion if you loiter near the gate. Entry is impossible.

The team of 25 young men is burning the midnight oil, drawing up strategies to make the Congress romp home victorious for the third time in general elections due in the first half of 2014.

With assembly election to five states in November-December, political activity has gained momentum in the party's election hub. Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram are set to go to polls which are being seen as a warm-up match before the world's largest democratic exercise in May.

"The party has hired a team of 25 young men who are formulating poll plans to reach out to people through technology," a party source, who strictly didn't wish to be identified as he was not allowed to speak openly to media, told IANS.

The Congress war room is well equipped with modern technology, which includes audio-video conferencing, WiFi connectivity and other electronic gadgetry.

According to party sources, the people in the war room are mostly computer professionals with high degree of competence.

"They work in two shifts and keep watch on the status of the political activities of each state," said another party source.

Two separate war rooms operate out of the address - for general and assembly elections.

The concept of a war room finds its genesis in 2009 before the general elections when it was headed by party leader Jairam Ramesh - now a cabinet minister in United Progressive Alliance II.

The concept of war room was later instituted in seven others states - Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa.

Be it meetings on Telangana bifurcation, discussion on poll strategy or ticket distribution for the assembly elections in Delhi, all the crucial meetings take place here.

The All India Congress Screening Committee held back-to-back meetings here on ticket distribution among the Delhi MLAs.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, AICC general secretary in-charge of Delhi Shakeel Ahmed, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief J.P. Agarwal and cabinet minister V. Narayanasamy have held several meetings on the issue here.

It is also where a 52-strong team of young Congress workers attended a five-day workshop where they honed their speaking skills to defend the party on TV news channel debates.

The workshop was conducted under the watchful eyes of All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in charge of media, Ajay Maken, a former central minister who was appointed to the post a few months ago to give an edge to the party's media communications.

A Congress leader who did not wish to be named told IANS that the party, besides other strategies, is harping on technology for the polls.

"Apart from door to door campaign, technology can a play pivotal role in the election campaigning," said a party insider.

(Alok Singh and Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at alok.s@ians.in and gaurav.s@ians.in)



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