"If you win in the 2023 Assembly elections, who would you make the first call to share the result? How good is your presence on social media? Name six leaders of the constituency you have chosen to contest from. Is your victory dependent on the party, individual influence, money or freebies, or anti-incumbency?" These posers are among the 60 questions which JD(S) legislators and ticket aspirants for the 2023 Assembly elections answered in a workshop conducted to gauge their preparedness. The workshop concluded on Tuesday.
Junking the common practice of hiring political strategists to help shape an outfit's electoral prospects, former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy decided to don the cap of a pollster. "I had some books on how the BJP strategized for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by using the organisation. I spent six months studying these books along with other data and came up with the 60 questions under six different heads,'' he told The News Minute.
Titled Janata Parva 1.0, the workshop was held in Kumaraswamy's farm in Bidadi. He held separate sessions for sitting and defeated elected representatives, women, youth, minorities, with one for the scheduled castes/tribes as well as Christian community. At the end of the workshop, around 4,000 to 5,000 JD(S) workers from seven wings of the party answered the questions which will be fed into a computer to prepare individual dossiers.
The workshop inaugurated by party supremo HD Deve Gowda was not just answering the questions as persons from various fields were invited to speak on current topics and electoral management. It was at one of these sessions that Kumaraswamy came up with the figure of winning 123 Assembly seats in the next elections.
"I got the idea from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls had launched Mission 272 plus. The call to win 123 seats was conceived as the figure 123 gives the feeling of getting ready to set go,'' Kumaraswamy said.
Of the 60 questions, 10 each under six headers: Constituency, Social presence in constituency, Workforce in constituency, Expectations, Towards win and Winning time, some will stump the person answering it. For instance under the "Winning Time" header, among the 10 questions the ticket aspirant is asked is the question, "Once you win, who will you call first? During the oath-taking under whose name you will take the oath? Once elected what post do you want -- minister, director or chairman of board or corporation, or leave it to the party's decision?''
Under the Expectations header a person has to explain why he/she likes the JD(S), is asked to list four schemes of Kumaraswamy and two of Deve Gowda which appealed to them and the plus points of a regional party.
The questioning drill goes beyond assessing the participant's knowledge regarding the organisation to understanding their opponents strengths. Under the Towards Win category, they have been asked to list four plus and minus points of their political rivals and during the poll campaign how many times does the candidate want the party leaders to visit the constituency.
"After the workshop, I will be going through the vision documents of the participants from the responses given by them. The JD(S) has been dubbed as a 'B' team of the BJP, and therefore we want to show what the party can do,'' Kumaraswamy said. Presently, the party leadership has identified candidates in 126 of the total 224 Assembly constituencies and given them 31 tasks to be completed by January.
"We have 17 more months before the polls. All the 126 candidates identified have to perform the 31 tasks related to reaching out to the voters. If they idle at home, I have to replace them,'' Kumaraswamy stated.