‘Brigadier’ Pande flanked by trusted Lt Raghu, logs in to restore Cong Grace

Mumbai: It is ‘War time’ in Maharashtra as the saffron bastion is all set to witness the poll-cast on October 21 for 288 Assembly seats and formation of its 14th government. While the political parties in the fray, are trying to swing the votes to their favour, Congress party’s new approach to election management, has been garnering a strong support among the masses for the grand-old party.

After the immense success of its ‘War Room’ strategy in Rajasthan, where the Congress party defeated BJP by a handsome margin and formed the government, Congress General Secretary and Maharashtra In-charge Avinash Pande has further ironed out the creases and implemented the same in Maharashtra as well.

The Congress party already had a war room at Delhi however, Pande paid heed to the theory of grass-root working and thus just like in Rajasthan, formed a ‘War Room’ in Mumbai as well.

For Congress, just like an umbilical cord is the lifeline between a child and its mother, similarly for 147 Congress candidates in Maharashtra, the ‘War Room’ stands for the same status. The ‘War Room’ works 24/7, which involves coordination at different levels.

“We have 147 contestants and on other seats, where our allies are contesting, we provide them with real time information about what the opposition candidates have said or done in their areas and what can now be done or said by our candidates to counter the opposition parties,” Pande said.

As the word ‘War’ implies urgency, similarly, the mood is in the ‘War Room.’ “There are eight lakh Shakti Workers, who have been contacted by the war room from whom feedback has been taken while also motivating them to reach the masses. Moreover, booth level workers are coordinated with and feedback and their daily activities are taken,” Pande said.

Interestingly, just like most wars are won by intelligence inputs, similarly here too intel plays a major role. Report on ground intel is taken from all assembly constituencies and everyday without fail, a meeting is called at the war room at 11 AM wherein based on the reports and other data available, briefings are conducted. The intel report, which is compiled at each district level and provides complete information about the assembly constituencies therein, the information regarding crowd at rallies of own and other parties candidates and various other similar information is discussed and strategy for the day is developed.

It is said that the war of 21st century would be fought on the digital landscape, far away from the previous wars. With the Congress too, the same appears to be the key to success. War room ‘Soldiers’ not only are involved in managing the ground realities, but also countering opposition on social media. “It is a major component wherein, we keep track on other parties and also keep checking if any action or comment is made with mal intent.” Pande said.

While the digital age has been changing the scenario, however, the importance of foot soldier hasn’t died down, just yet. “Observers have been appointed in every district of the state, with Congress leaders from Rajasthan forming the majority of observers. I thank Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and Deputy CM Sachin Pilot, they have sent best of leaders to Maharashtra for campaign and management, despite there being by-polls on two seats in Rajasthan itself.”

A trusted ‘Brigadier’ of Sonia Gandhi, Avinash Pande has been chosen due to the faith of Congress High Command in him and the work ethics and capability shown by Pande. “I am honoured that I have been given this job. It is a major recognition for me and an honour. The main reason for war room is to motivate each and every worker of the party,” Pande said.