A campaign launched by the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress to strengthen its presence at the polling booths ahead of the State Assembly elections due in December this year has attracted the party workers in large numbers as well as the local populace in the remote areas. The Congress has refuted the charge that it is a “gimmick” to display power.The ‘Mera Booth, Mera Gaurav’ (my booth, my pride) campaign has been devised to prompt the Congress workers to take pride in the party’s most fundamental unit and reinforce the organisational value of unity in its rank and file. Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot has addressed a large number of booth-level programmes in several towns and villages across the State. Mr. Pilot led a massive rally of party workers here on Monday to protest against the alleged misuse of government machinery and money by the ruling BJP during a dialogue meet held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Jaipur on July 7. Mr. Pilot said the BJP, which had wasted the hard-earned money of taxpayers to gather the crowds of so-called beneficiaries of government’s schemes, had betrayed the public mandate.The campaign at the booths, on the other hand, is claimed to be an innovative way to motivate the party workers and strengthen the party at its core. “This is an innovation like no other. With other parties painting the picture of workers mobilising to strengthen the party leaders, we in the Congress have mobilised our party leaders to strengthen the core workers,” Pradesh Congress vice-president Archana Sharma said here.Besides Mr. Pilot, AICC general secretary Avinash Pande, former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and AICC secretaries Vivek Bansal, Devendra Yadav, Qazi Nizamuddin and Tarun Kumar have attended the booth-level outreach programmes during the last one and a half months.‘Not a gimmick’ Ms. Sharma refuted the BJP’s allegation that the Congress’ campaign was a gimmick to display power and said it was nurturing the very roots of the organisation. “As a united front, we believe that a healthy organisation gives a healthy regime,” she said, adding that the party had reached out to more than 7,00,000 people across the State.During the programmes, the Congress leaders have highlighted the BJP government’s alleged failures and the previous Congress regime’s achievements through one-to-one contacts, street plays and pamphlets.BJP accuses Cong. Newly-appointed State BJP president Madan Lal Saini has accused the Congress of imitating the ruling party’s ‘Mera Booth, Sabse Mazboot’ (my booth, the strongest) campaign running for four years. At some places, the Congress workers and leaders were reportedly involved in scuffles because of ‘local politics’.After the completion of the campaign, Congress president Rahul Gandhi is likely to address a rally in the State next month to give a fillip to the party’s preparations for the Assembly polls.
A 10-day-old infant who was injured during cross-border firing in Poonch sector on Sunday has succumbed to the injuries at a hospital there.“The baby was undergoing treatment but unfortunately he succumbed [late on Sunday],” Deputy Commissioner Poonch Rahul Yadav said.The infant and his mother, Fatima Jan, were injured in cross-border firing in Shahpur area of Poonch district on Sunday night.The baby was yet to be named, according to the family.According to officials, the Pakistani army started firing and mortar shelling around 7.30 p.m. in Bandi Chechian, Karmara and Kerni areas of Poonch sector on the Line of Control. “A total of three persons were treated at the Poonch hospital,” the official said.