Manifesto drafting committee head M Veerappa Moily said the party was preparing a manifesto each for the 30 districts of Karnataka, one each for the state’s four regions and a comprehensive manifesto for the entire state.
Moily said the manifestos were being put together after an exhaustive exercise where the manifesto committee has consulted diverse stakeholders, and these manifestos would be released by mid-April, preferably jointly by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
“It is a unique effort. In the last four weeks, we have reached out to people with domain expertise in their respective sectors. We have consulted farmers, industry chambers, education experts, those dealing with urban issues and women groups,” Moily, currently a Lok Sabha member, said. The polling for Karnataka assembly is on May 12, and counting of votes is on May 15.
This “in-depth” effort at the drafting of these manifestos may look inspired by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) experiments for the Delhi assembly elections in 2015, where it had prepared a separate manifesto for each of the 70 assembly constituencies of the city-state.
But Congress party sources say the precursor to its novel effort in Karnataka was its manifesto drafting exercise for the Gujarat assembly polls.
While the Congress released only one manifesto for Gujarat, its team led by Madhusudan Mistry and Sam Pitroda held dozens of meetings with industry bodies, small and medium enterprises, farmers, activists, non-governmental organisations, tribal and Dalit groups and women self-help groups.
Several of the suggestions from these meetings were incorporated in the final draft, which helped the Congress instill confidence in various stakeholders that it was committed to heeding their concerns. The Congress president has been keen that the Gujarat exercise becomes a template for preparing manifestos for not just Karnataka, but forthcoming polls in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
Moily didn’t want to disclose any specific details but said the manifesto will be people-oriented with focus on agriculture. He said the manifesto would suggest ways to make agriculture more sustainable, and put forth implementable measures to help farmers double their incomes.