The Congress's newly-formed 'Civic and Social Outreach Cell' will provide a platform to "dissenting voices" of activists and NGOs ahead of 2019 elections, senior leader Madhusudan Mistry said in Ahmedabad today.
The party may incorporate some of the issues flagged by civil society groups in its manifesto and even consider giving tickets to activists, he said.
On September 17, Congress president Rahul Gandhi appointed Mr Mistry, a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, as the chairman of the cell.
The cell's aim is to reach out to civil society groups, activists and NGOs to ensure that their voices are not suppressed by the government, he said.
It would soon start deliberations with activists and NGOs from various states including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to understand their problems, Mr Mistry told reporters.
"Attempts are being made to suppress dissenting voices of activists and social organisations working for farmers and other weaker sections. The cell has been created to enable them put forward their views without fear," said Mr Mistry.
"Ahead of 2019 elections, we have planned to meet all such social organisations to understand their causes and problems. We may also include their issues in the poll manifesto. The party can also consider giving tickets to some of the activists," he said.
Referring to denial of permission by the Gujarat government to Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel to stage a hunger strike in a public place here, Mr Mistry said the ruling BJP is misusing power.
The biggest challenge before the country now is to safeguard the voices of activists and NGOs, he said. "Unfortunately, the BJP has been trying to suppress all such people's initiatives to remain in power. Our aim is to provide them a safe environment and a platform to express their views freely," the veteran party leader added.
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