Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Can Congress’ ‘guarantee cards’ work wonders?


New Delhi: The Congress believes that ‘guarantee cards’ will ensure their resurgence in this Lok Sabha election!

And this has prompted them to print another six crore cards with 25 guarantees under five ‘nyays’ formulated during Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, which formed the main crux of the manifesto, after distributing the initial 6.5 crore prepared.

The increased focus on the distribution of guarantee cards by the Congress comes after tasting success during the Karnataka and Telangana polls.

The backroom team in the central Congress War Room, who coordinate and monitor the distribution, calls guarantee cards the “hero of the campaign”, as it personalises the campaign for the voter – as well as the cadre – besides allowing candidates to customize it to include their appeal for votes.

In the past month, leaders said party workers have distributed millions of guarantee cards. This includes those printed by state units – Karnataka Congress printed 1.5 crore on their own – and candidates, which runs into around six crores besides the 6.5 crore sent by the Congress headquarters.

Sasikanth Senthil, a former IAS officer who heads the central War Room, told DH, “The guarantee card is a crisp articulation of our manifesto. Usually, people rarely read manifestos in detail. So we went for a new format, and the first thing we decided was that it should not be a pamphlet but a card.”

Leaders insist that the guarantee card is not the usual pamphlet and initiates a personal connection with the voter’s family as well as enthuses the cadre. They said the exercise of collecting details that are recorded and the subsequent interaction with the voters gives an impression to them that what is promised will be delivered and they could hold the MP accountable.

With demands growing and candidates finding its value, sources said, open files of the guarantee cards were shared with candidates so that they could print personal appeals along with it.

In places like Karnataka and Telangana where guarantee cards were distributed during last year’s Assembly polls, campaigners said several voters have kept the cards as souvenirs and showed them when they went to distribute the Lok Sabha card.

The central Congress War Room monitors the distribution of the guarantee cards through Parliamentary Coordinators and state war rooms. There are daily reviews at various levels, and random cross-checking with block-level agents and voters who have received the cards.

One of the ‘young’ veterans who has been part of Congress War Rooms said, “The booth-level agents are energized. For them, there is a sense of purpose. Earlier, they used to just follow a local leader or attend rallies. Now, they have a responsibility to reach out to the voter and map them.”

These booth-level agents were trained at various levels on the distribution of guarantee cards, including how to engage in conversation with the voter and respond to their queries.

The run-up to the distribution of cards saw the War Room preparing them for the task. The booth agents were told to first organize programs on Women’s Day and later to interact with first-time voters.

“These set the stage for distribution. By then, the booth-level agents had already had some interactions with a substantial number of voters in her booth,” a War Room functionary said. The details collected during these exercises are compiled.

(Published 28 April 2024, 02:38 IST)



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