‘Prithviraj Chavan will lead Maharashtra in 2014 polls’

In an interaction with The Indian Express, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Manikrao Thakre speaks on issues ranging from Congress-NCP relations to challenges ahead for a Democratic Front government as it prepares itself for poll battle in 2014. To begin with, he wants to connect MPCC with AICC through video-conferencing to ensure effective communication.

Thakre morphs into the party's makeover man, adopting new technologies with a renewed mission, to market the Congress. In a rally that will begin this week, Thakre's main focus is to create awareness on the popular schemes undertaken by the Centre and state government. Thakre, who started his political journey as a sarpanch, is determined to see the Congress retain its number one position in the 2014 elections.

Shubhangi Khapre: Can marketing and technology become a substitute to people to people contact?

MT: No, that continues. We had a training camp for party workers with P Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid. We will soon be starting the same at district and block level. Also, we have this rally on December 28, a vachanpoorti melawa, where we will remind the people that we have fulfilled the promises in our manifesto. Apart from Babasaheb Ambedkar memorial, we have also started direct cash transfer initiative, under which people benefiting under various schemes will be given the cash directly. This is being done in collaboration with banks.

Shubhangi Khapre: All the schemes you spoke about are Centre-supported. Do you feel the administration in Maharashtra is satisfactory?

Several schemes have been made by the state government as well. Such as the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevan Daayi Yojna, which has been started in eight districts, two of them in Mumbai. The expense for around 956 illnesses is being borne by the government for whoever holds the card. Today, in every village, people can get food by any means necessary, but medicines and treatments are expensive. If you set up a camp in one block, which has 100-150 villages, you distribute some pamphlets and you have eight to ten thousand people showing up. It only shows that there is such a huge need!

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