The man who is heading the booth-level management of the Congress is a retired state cop who took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah and later joined the Congress after he retired in 2015.
Kuldeep Sharma, a retired IPS officer, spearheads the party’s new experiment of a rigorous booth-management system to counter the very efficient machinery of the ruling party. Sharma formed a ‘Chief Election Coordination Centre’ at the party’s Ahmedabad headquarter from where he coordinates with the Congress foot soldiers at the booth level.
Poor booth management has been a key factor in the Congress defeat in election after election in the state. Sharma’s initiative has put a new life in the party as is evident from popularity of party president Rahul Gandhi’s canvassing in the state.
Sharma, who is the state Congress vice-president, began the new experiment by appointing six salaried regional managers in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Junagadh and Mehsana. These six men were asked to work under party secretaries since professionals could not directly interact with the voters for political initiatives.
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Each regional manager was given 10 field executives who helped set up strong booth-level committees.
Sharma’s team combined data analytics and field reports to gauge the ground situation. This helped them focus on building booth committees only in constituencies where they felt Congress could do well.
State Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki, Ashok Gehlot (general secretary in-charge of the state) and all India Congress secretaries worked closely with Sharma to help him. Till now, Sharma has been successful in enlisting almost 3 lakh booth workers covering 25,000 booths across the state.
Based on field inputs, the coordination centre provided every candidate with information like constituency profile, pertinent issues, list of election-related offences and information on week booths.
Sharma had fallen out with the Modi-led Gujarat government over the encounter-killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and the subsequent of murder of his wife Kauserbi. Sheikh, a wanted criminal, was allegedly killed in a staged encounter by Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorism Squad. The case is still in the courts. It is alleged that Sharma had blown the lid off the killing of Shiekh.
Sharma became famous in Gujarat in 1995 when he arrested the dreaded underworld don Abdul Latif Wahab Shaikh, an associate of Dawood Ibrahim, from Jama Masjid area of Old Delhi.
During his tenure in the CID, he had taken on the then minister of state for home Amit Shah in connection with the Rs 1,200 crore Madhavpura Mercantile Co-operative Bank case being investigated by the agency.
Source : timesofindia