The Congress held its first meeting on strategy in Kerala in which the surveys conducted were thoroughly assessed by the top leadership led by All India Congress Committee general secretary and Kerala in-charge Tariq Anwar. The meeting was also attended by Sunil Konugolu whose surveys have been instrumental in Karnataka’s win, and is also working closely in Madhya Pradesh. The surveys have suggested that the party is facing anti-incumbency on three Lok Sabha seats out of 15 won last time. Kerala has 20 Lok Sabha seats. Party leaders suggest that all the three Parliamentarians have been intimated about their low performance in their respective constituencies and, therefore, told to be more active and show presence in their areas so that their tickets are not denied and they continue in their constitutional position.
A Congress party insider said, “Sunil Konugolu has conducted surveys in all the constituencies. He will be coming again for strategy purposes. However, there is a void in Congress to attract Christian population. After Oommen Chandy, there is no tall leader in the party with whom Christian population can connect with. Therefore, it was also discussed that a Christian leader should be elevated or given a chance in KPCC to hold a credible position and also start a reach out to the Christian population.” It is noteworthy to mention that Kerala has around 6 million Christians living in the state, accounting for about 18% of the population.
Another Congress party insider said, “The party has kickstarted its Lok Sabha preparations in Kerala and there will be more concerted efforts to tackle any kind of discrepancy with regard to the elections. As of now, we are doing better and we are expected to do better. The disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from Parliament has only helped the party as they could be more people now willing to vote for Congress.
An expert said, “Kerala is a very important state for the Congress. Last time, they couldn’t get double digits from any state, but Kerala. They had, out of 20 seats, been victorious on 15 seats in Kerala which speaks a lot about their presence in the state.”