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P. Chidambaram, chairman of Congress’s manifesto committee for 2019 Lok Sabha elections. A dedicated WhatsApp number and an email ID for people to share their suggestions was launched along with the website. Photo: PTI
P. Chidambaram, chairman of Congress’s manifesto committee for 2019 Lok Sabha elections. A dedicated WhatsApp number and an email ID for people to share their suggestions was launched along with the website. Photo: PTI

Congress starts website to crowdsource 2019 manifesto

The crowdsourced process is in addition to on-the-ground consultations that the Congress started earlier in October

New Delhi: The Congress on Monday launched a website seeking inputs into its manifesto, to reach out to more potential voters and make common people stakeholders in the party’s 2019 Lok Sabha campaign. The crowdsourced process is in addition to on-the-ground consultations that the party started earlier this month.

Launching what is one of Congress’s largest manifesto outreach campaigns in recent times, senior party leaders said that not only do they have an early start but that it will also help it reconnect with its own party workers, as well as voters.

“We will ask people, encourage people, motivate people to tell us what they expect from the Congress and, should the Congress form the government, what they will expect from the government," said P. Chidambaram, former finance minister and chairman of party’s manifesto committee for 2019.

People who wish to key in their suggestions for the party on the website, which has a choice of 16 languages, are asked to fill in information such as their names, phone numbers, and email IDs.

A dedicated WhatsApp number and an email ID for people to share their suggestions was launched along with the website, manifesto.inc.in.

The term of the current Lok Sabha ends on 3 June 2019 and elections are expected to take place earlier in the year. The Congress is pitted against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government and aims to rebuild its voter base after a historic loss in the 2014 general elections.

In the past, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has used the method of crowdsourcing manifesto inputs for elections. The Union government also runs a website, mygov.in, which is a platform for citizen engagement.

The manifesto outreach of the Congress is being overseen by a 22-member manifesto committee which will look into 20 different subject groups such as economy, agriculture. Senior Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Gowda is the convener of the manifesto committee.

The process of on-the-ground consultation for the manifesto started on 1 October 2018, including both closed-door and open house consultations.

Each subject group aims to hold at least 8-10 consultations and the process, involving a total of 150-160 such consultations across the country, is likely to be completed by the end of the year.

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