The Congress in Kerala today launched a programme envisaging 24,000 family meets named after late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to strengthen the party's grass root base ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Inaugurating the initiative billed as a new chapter in the party's history, senior leader A K Antony cautioned that the party would lose its space in the parliamentary politics if it fails to expand its mass base. The state-wide booth committees-level "Indira Family Meets" to be held over two months will expose "anti-people" policies of the centre and state government and highlight people's issues at the local level with a view to strengthening the party's mass base. The evening get togethers, which will see participation of senior leaders, MPs and MLAs of respective areas, are planned as part of the birth centenary celebrations of Indira Gandhi, party sources here said. Speaking at the event here, Antony urged party workers to strengthen and expand the grass root base of Congress and the United Democratic Front by taking up issues affecting common people and find solutions to them, saying such programmes would help the party regain its mass appeal. "The booth committees should be strengthened. This kind of massive family meets is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Congress. These meets should be able to take up people's agitation and strengthen the party through that," he said. He also said farmers were agitating across the country and prices of essential commodities had been on the rise under the Narendra Modi's rule. According to party sources, the family meets will be held in 24,417 booth committees of the party during June-July. Indira memorial lectures would be organised and documentaries on the life and contributions of the late leader would be screened during the events. The "anti-people" and "fascist" policies of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, which is celebrating its third anniversary, and Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government in state, which completed its first year in office, would be exposed before the public in the string of family meets, they said. Short films exposing the "administrative failure" of both the central and state governments would also be screened.
KPCC General Secretary Thampanoor Ravi said the party was organising family meets on such a large scale for the first time. "The strength of the party lies in the strength of booth committees. KPCC is organising family meets in such a massive scale to strengthen the booth committees and revitalise grass root level party workers," he told PTI. He said the party is aiming at rejuvenating its grass root level base through the meets targeting the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. "We will expose the fascist face of BJP-RSS forces who are trying to destroy the secular fabric of the country. The politics of violence promoted by ruling CPI(M) in the state will also be brought before public," Ravi said. Besides this, the local issues of respective areas would also be discussed in the meets. As many as one lakh tree saplings, five in each booth, would be planted across the state in memory of Indira Gandhi, the leader said, adding, two KPCC officials have been designated to supervise preparations of the meet.
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