Chintan Shivir focus will be on making Congress battle-ready, says senior Congress leader

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi will open the conclave and Rahul Gandhi will make closing remarks.

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi will open the conclave and Rahul Gandhi will make closing remarks. | Photo Credit: PTI

Cosmetic change in the Congress will not work and the focus of the three-day Nav Sankalp chintan shivir at Udaipur will be on making it battle-ready for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls with an implementable action plan, a senior leader of the party said on Wednesday.

The three-day brainstorming session, beginning on May 13, will send out a clear message that no anti-BJP front can work nationally without the Congress getting stronger ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Though the focus of the chintan shivir will be on organisational reforms with fixed timelines and responsibilities assigned, the leader said the leadership issue too is expected to come up, as 99 per cent of the participants are likely to reiterate their demand for Rahul Gandhi to take over as the party chief.

As The Hindu had reported on Monday after the meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), discussions on key organisational changes will include the proposal to have a separate body to manage elections, an elected CWC, one ticket per family, higher representations for disadvantaged sections like SC, ST and minorities for party posts and so on.

The party is holding the Udaipur meet after a string of electoral defeats, including in the recent Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. It is not only reduced to being in power in just two States, but its combined strength in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha doesn’t add up to 100.

“No cosmetic change will work as we face an unprecedented and a unique situation,”said the leader, adding the mandate is to make the conclave meaningful and make the Udaipur declaration actionable. “The Congress will also come out with solutions and positions on issues confronting it,” he said.

The last such conclave was held in Jaipur in 2013 when Mr. Gandhi was elevated as the party’s vice-president and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was in power. The earlier ‘shivirs’ were held in Pachmarhi in 1998 and Shimla in 2003, and focussed on strengthening the party and subsequently altering the party’s position on alliances.

“The message is clear that if the Congress is weak, any coalition of non-BJP forces cannot happen. But if the Congress is strong, the alliance too will be strong,” the strategist said. “We need to revive and rebuild to gain a place of prominence at the centre of any potential anti-BJP alliance”.

Over 422 participants will be divided into six groups, each group having about 70 members, to discuss and come out with solutions on key issues, including communal polarisation, Centre-State relations, forming of alliances, inflation, unemployment and privatisation of profitable public sector undertakings (PSUs).

Other important issues will include internal security, the government’s silence on the border face-off with China, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and minimum support price for farmers.

The conclave will begin with opening remarks by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on May 13. The valedictory address will be delivered by Rahul Gandhi on May 15.

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Printable version | Jun 10, 2022 4:36:48 am |