The Congress party has unveiled a website ‘Jan Awaz’ or ‘Your Voice’ to crowdsource inputs for the party’s manifesto for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“Congress President has made it clear that Congress party’s manifesto will be written following an inclusive process, based on a conversation with the people of India,” Congress leader P. Chidambaram told reporters on Monday.

The idea of the endeavour was to mobilise and motivate people to say what they expected from the Congress party, said Mr. Chidambaram.

The party has constituted a 22-member manifesto committee, with Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Gowda as the committee’s convenor. Twenty sub-groups have also been set up with the task of focussing on issues including agriculture, foreign policy, environment, heritage and culture. Public suggestions can be submitted in 16 languages on the website, or sent via WhatsApp and e-mail too.

Already 31 consultations, both open and closed door, have taken place. The most recent one, chaired by Mr. Chidambaram, was held in Mumbai and sought views on economic policy. The Congress expects to carry out at least 160 such consultations. The process of collecting ideas and suggestions will be wrapped up by December and the party hopes to release its manifesto well in time for polls which are expected in April.

While India has more than 500 million Internet subscribers, the Congress plans to widen the consultation process beyond the online realm so as to reach out to rural voters as well.

“The idea is to make it as inclusive and as broad-based as possible,” Mr. Chidambaram said.

Party workers’ inputs would be a big part of the manifesto, he added.

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