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Karnataka: The backroom activist who plotted Congress's win

May 08, 2013 17:48 IST

The man, who once worked as a mason in Ahmedabad earning Rs 2 daily, now shares the credit for the Congress’s handsome victory in Karnataka.

Madhusudan Mistry, Congress general secretary, was made in-charge of Karnataka election by party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi after he saw him working tenaciously on an assignment in a district of Uttar Pradesh three years back.

Mistry’s rise in the Congress is one of the fastest by the party’s standards but the man has proved his mettle in Karnataka now.

Since Mistry has joined Congress just little more than a decade ago he was viewed by party veterans as a ‘NGO-type jholawala’ and always looked at with suspicion. But he was liked by Rahul Gandhi because he doesn’t have any personal ambitions or agenda. He is a man who can execute his leader’s assignment without adding his own likes and dislikes.

That is what Mistry did in the Karnataka election. He worked hard for more than six months just to get four sets of candidates from different sources on who should be given tickets. Then the Congress core group which was handling Karnataka saw to it that the party does not mess up ticket distribution. Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, political advisor to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Mistry could not avert it totally but restricted the damage and dissatisfaction of state cadre to some 20 odd seats.

In rest of the seats, tickets were given after deliberations, after taking opinions of loyal workers and taking into account the winning ability of the candidates. Mistry's theme was to not talk about BJP but talk about, "gaining back lost pride of Karnataka lost under the BJP's rule".

Wearing a kurta-chudidar and Kolhapuri chappals, Mistry was enjoying his moment on Wednesday at his modest house in New Delhi’s South Avenue.

He has fought hard to remove the "outsider" tag to get accepted within the Congress. His favourite line is, “I came from Ahemdabad with one bag, if the party orders me I will return with one bag.” The man who enjoys doing paperwork, has a knack of filing field reports as the managers of NGOs do, and has the common sense to understand what he is NOT supposed to do in the party like the Congress.

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi