Top Congress leaders began their three-day intelligence conference here to revive the organization ahead of the upcoming election cycle, with party chief Sonia Gandhi calling for urgent reforms and changes in its day-to-day functioning, saying “extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary action.”
The ‘New Sankalp Chintan Shibir’, which began with Gandhi’s remarks, is expected to witness major structural reforms over the five years, with the exception of the ‘One Family, One Ticket’ formula, based on high-level performance in party roles. The source said it would pave the way for leaders like Priyanka Gandhi and Vaibhav Gehlot to contest the elections as they have been in party posts since 2019.
Gandhi also launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of keeping the country in a state of perpetual polarization, “cruelty” to minorities and threatening “political opponents” by abusing the institution.
The Congress president again set the tone for the discussion by reminding the leaders that it was time to repay the debt of the organization, emphasizing that the revival of the party would take place only through great concerted efforts and could not be stopped. Sending a clear message to the ranks of the Congress, he said the party needs to change its style of working with the changing times and called on them to keep the organization above their personal ambitions. He urged about 450 delegates to negotiate with an open mind but sent a strong message of strong organization, determination and unity.
” In a way this is the most fundamental problem. Our revival is possible only through concerted efforts. Such concerted efforts will not be delayed. This ‘camp’ is the beginning of the journey, “Gandhi said.
“The situation in front of our organization is unprecedented. Extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary action. I am fully aware of this. The organization needs to make changes within itself, not just to survive, but to move forward. We urgently need to improve and change our strategy, “he said, referring to the camp as an important step in the journey. We are not unaware of the expectations of the people. ” With regard to the government, he said, it has become “painfully clear” what Modi and his colleagues actually mean by their frequently used slogan ‘maximum rule minimum government’.
“It means keeping the country in a state of permanent polarization, forcing people to live in constant fear and insecurity. This means brutally targeting, victimizing and often targeting minorities who are an integral part of our society and equal citizens of our republic, “he said. “It means using the old plurality of our society to divide us and destroy the very idea of unity and diversity.” It means threatening and intimidating political opponents, tarnishing their image, imprisoning them on trivial pretexts and abusing investigative agencies, “Gandhi said.
He said that this means destroying the independence and professionalism of all the institutions of democracy. Gandhi also accused the BJP-led government of “wholesale rediscovery of history”, of its leaders’ relentless insults, especially of Jawaharlal Nehru and their contributions, their acquisitions and their abandonment, and of taking systematic steps to distort, deny and destroy them. The Congress chief said, “This means glorifying the assassins of Mahatma Gandhi. He accused the center of “innocent contempt” of the constitution and its pillars of justice, liberty, equality, fraternity and secularism.
Gandhi complained that the government was turning a blind eye to the continuing oppression of the weaker sections, especially Dalits, tribals and women across the country. He further alleged that the Center was using fear to line up the bureaucracy, corporate India, civil society and the media. He said deviant tactics were being used and questioned “absolute silence” on the part of the “so eloquent Prime Minister” when “healing touch is most needed”.
“I urge you to express your views openly, but only one message should come out and that is a strong organization, determination and unity,” he said. He said the meeting was also an opportunity to discuss the many challenges ahead of us and to bring about organizational change. It is both ‘thinking’ about national issues and meaningful ‘introspection’ (self-reflection) about our party organization, ” he said. The table’s proposals include implementing the ‘one family, one ticket’ formula, which has been doing ‘exemplary work’ for the party for at least five years, with the exception of other family members.
Other major organizational reforms include the establishment of zonal committees at the booth and block levels of the organization, 50 per cent representation of persons under the age of 50 in party committees at all levels, and setting a maximum five-year term for party posts. For an off-period of three years, an in-house survey mechanism was set up to form a ‘Public Insight Department’ and an evaluation branch was set up to measure the performance of office bearers.
The party is promising to provide legal guarantees in the MSP for farmers as well as 50 per cent representation of those under the age of 50 and to make unemployment a major issue in the upcoming elections.
Veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharg said the party would discuss alliance issues after strengthening its own organization and mobilizing its staff as no partner would come if you did not have any investment.
He said the party would decide on alliances with parties that subscribe to its ideology and are concerned about “attacks” on democracy and the constitution and want to save them.
“It’s a battle between Indian nationalists and pseudo-nationalists. Those who stand by the policy of the Indian National Congress represent the Indian way of life and thought which has sustained this civilization for 3000 years, “Kharg said.
Congress leader Ajay Maken, a member of the organisation’s coordinating committee for talks at the think tank, said the meeting was being held at a time when the party was facing electoral defeat and was trying to strengthen itself by making a start. To determine its organizational overhaul and its strategy for future-preparation for the 2024 general and other state assembly elections. The conclave also comes amid organizational overhauls at all levels and a partisan call for elections.