The new vice-president urged his colleagues to be frank and not to hold back anything for fear of offending him

It’s time to open a fresh account and make a new beginning rather than dwell on all that has gone wrong in the past, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi told office-bearers on Thursday at his first formal meeting with them.

Mr. Gandhi, party sources told The Hindu, said this in the middle of a two-hour discussion on how the party organisation could be strengthened and energised, after several participants focussed only on the many shortcomings and problems.

The new vice-president had, however, in his brief opening remarks, urged his colleagues to be frank and not to hold back anything for fear of offending him. “He said he wanted an open discussion,” one participant said. But when some office-bearers embarked on a litany of complaints, Mr. Gandhi intervened, saying there was no point harping on what had gone wrong — it would be more meaningful to think of the future.

While a key office-bearer underscored the need for “accountability” and “performance,” general secretary and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad once again spoke of the need to implement the ‘one man-one post’ concept, party sources said. Mr. Azad cited his own example and said he was not able to do justice to the two positions he had been given: he added that if there was need to involve Ministers in party work that could be done by setting up a coordination committee, but placing two major responsibilities on one person was not a very effective way of getting the best out of an individual.

Another general secretary Digvijay Singh said that before embarking on how to restructure and strengthen the organisation, it was imperative that a reshuffle of the AICC office-bearers be done, otherwise, everyone would be on tenterhooks.

Yet another general secretary, Oscar Fernandes, spoke of the need for better coordination among the booth, block, district and State committees which, he said, should meet at least once a month.

The meeting will continue on Friday.

More In: National | News