Final deliberations underway to usher reforms in Congress

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The Congress leadership on Sunday started the final round of deliberations to usher organisational reforms and articulate the party’s position on key issues and challenges confronting it and the country at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) here.

After the two-day long deliberations on organisational, political, economic, agricultural, social justice and youth related issues, the dedicated panels formed for the purpose submitted their reports to the Congress President which will be given to the CWC for their final approval.

Tricky issues relating to ideology, economic policy and social engineering have been debated in the Chintan Shivir panels and it remains to be seen what shape these issues take in the ‘Nav Sankalp’ resolution to be adopted later in the day.

Top Congress leaders including party chief Sonia Gandhi, former president Rahul Gandhi and senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ambika Soni and others attended the CWC meeting here, while giving final shape to organisational reforms and party’s stand on key issues.

The leaders have held several rounds of deliberations during the past two days in the six panels formed by the Congress president. Convener of these panels submitted their reports to Sonia Gandhi paving the way for a structured resolution.

The resolution will be adopted at the CWC and the Congress will adopt the ‘Nav Sankalp’ declaration be the outcome of the three-day brainstorming conclave where over 450 Congress leaders from across participated.

The party will adopt the ‘Nav Sankalp’ declaration after three days of brainstorming at the Chintan Shivir here.

A proposal was also mooted to demand elections on the ballot paper, but was turned down by the sub group which said that it was the concern of all parties and would be decided in an all-party meeting.

The proposal was that the Congress should come up with a resolution on it but the party said the ‘shivir is for internal discussion of the party and its future agenda’.

There were many leaders during the meeting who opposed the EVM and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal was one of the vocal voices. It was said at the meeting that many political parties have blamed EVM for their losses in the poll, but the ongoing shivir, the party was outlining broad contours for its future programmes.

Interestingly, immediately following the Congress’ rout in the Uttar Pradesh state elections this year, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi conceded his defeat, stating that he ‘respected’ the mandate of the people. Addressing a press conference, Owaisi thanked AIMIM volunteers and the public who voted for the party, promising to work hard in future elections.

“The UP public has decided to give power to BJP, I respect the decision of the public. I thank AIMIM’s state president, workers, members, and the public who voted for us. Our efforts were quite a lot, but the results didn’t come as per our expectations. We’ll work hard again,” said Asaduddin Owaisi.

Owaisi also condemned political parties who were trying to hide their defeat by raising EVMs, stating that the fault was not of the electronic machine, but the ‘chip’ in the minds of the people. “All political parties trying to hide their defeat by raising EVM issues, it’s not EVM’s fault, but the chip in people’s minds. There has been a success, but it’s 80-20. We’ll start working again from tomorrow and I believe we’ll do better next time,” Owaisi added.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is likely to embark on a padyatra (foot march) from August 15 this year from Kashmir to Kanyakumari to connect with the masses.

The Congress is holding the three-day conclave in Udaipur in the backdrop of a string of electoral defeats and dissent in the party for the past many years.

The Shivir is focusing on time-bound party restructuring, finding ways to combat politics of polarisation and getting battle-ready for upcoming electoral challenges.

The Congress is expected to bring major structural reforms including the ‘one family, one ticket’ formula with exceptions based on high levels of performance in a party role for five years.

The formula will pave the way for leaders like Priyanka Gandhi and others to contest elections as they have worked in party positions since 2019.

The party is also likely to usher wide-ranging reforms and will unveil some big-ticket changes including providing 50 per cent representation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs and minorities at all levels in the party organisation as part of its social engineering efforts.

The party is also proposing to promise granting legal guarantee to MSP for farmers, besides granting 50 percent representation to those below 50 years of age and making unemployment a major issue in upcoming elections.

(with inputs from agencies)

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Published on: Sunday, May 15, 2022, 12:54 PM IST

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