Party Mulling ‘One Family One Ticket’ System, Vows of ‘Big Change’ as Conclave Kicks Off

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The Congress is considering enforcing the ‘One family, one ticket’ formula with the exception only when another family member has been working for at least five years in the party. The party is also considering capping at five years holding of a post with a cooling off period of three years and setting up of an assessment wing to monitor performance of office bearers.

Addressing a press conference ahead of the start of the party’s ‘Chintan Shivir’ on Friday, Congress general secretary Ajay Maken said “big changes” are in store for the party organisation and it will completely transform its working style going forward.

He said a proposal is being considered that 50 per cent party positions be reserved for those less than 50 years of age in party committees at every level of the Congress organisation. He said there is unanimity on establishing mandal committees between booth and block level in party organisation.

Maken, who is a member of the coordination committee on organisation for discussion at the Chintan Shivir, said the party is deliberating on setting up a ‘public insight department’ to ascertain views of the people and carry out surveys for getting battle ready for elections

The Congress is also considering setting up an ‘assessment wing’ to gauge performance of office bearers, he said. “We are also working on a mechanism for enforcing stricter discipline,” he said. The three-day ‘Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir’ is being held in the backdrop of a string of electoral defeats and dissent in the party for the past many years.

The Shivir will focus on time-bound party restructuring, finding ways to combat politics of polarisation and getting battle-ready for upcoming electoral challenges. It will begin Friday afternoon following which over 400 delegates will discuss subject-specific issues across six groups.

These discussions will continue on the first and second day and the conclusions will be recorded in the form of a declaration, a draft of which will be discussed at the CWC meeting to be held there on the third and last day.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was given a warm welcome at Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh Railway station at 5 AM when he reached the state for the three-day brainstorming session.

In a video shared by Congress MP Manickam Tagore, the ex-Congress chief can be seen stepping off the train, greeting people with folded hands, receiving a garland and a gift, and being greeted with slogans from party members among a crowd of police officers and media. All of this occurred at 5 AM. “At 5 am, Chittorgarh Railway station… Our congress leader #RahulGandhi being greeted by congress workers and local leaders (sic),” he said in a tweet.

Slogans of ‘Rahul aap sangharsh karo, hum tumhare sath hai’ (Rahul you persevere, we are with you), and ‘Congress party zindabad'(all hail Congress party) were raised by the gathering.

Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa also posted an image on Twitter upon his arrival with other leaders, including Sachin Pilot.

Gandhi on Thursday boarded a train for Udaipur from Delhi’s Sarai Rohilla railway station along with some other senior leaders of the party as he headed to the party’s three-day ‘Chintan Shivir’. Gandhi had been greeted with flowers and slogans by party workers as he reached the railway station in the evening. The train ride was meant to build a ‘connect with the people’.

The former Congress chief was also welcomed by coolies at the Sarai Rohilla station and their delegation shared its concerns with him. The Congress had booked two bogies of the train as many party leaders, including Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh, were travelling along with Gandhi in the train to attend the session from May 13 to May 15.

‘There will never be a Congress-mukt Bharat’

Ahead of its brainstorming conclave here, the Congress asserted on Thursday that it was the principal opposition party but was conscious of its “shortcomings” and was ready to “transform” itself by working on its ideology and organisation. The party said it would introspect in the next three days to embark on a new direction by confronting various challenges and pave the way for the country’s bright future.

The three-day ‘Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir’ is being held in the backdrop of a string of electoral defeats and dissent in the party which has seen a sharp decline in the last seven years. The Shivir will focus on time-bound party restructuring, finding ways to combat politics of polarisation and getting battle-ready for upcoming electoral challenges. Underlining the importance of the conclave, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that the Congress is the principal opposition party in the country and people had expectations from it. This Shivir is for the country and through it, the party will send a new message to people all over, he said.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the session is being held at a time when the country is facing the challenge of polarisation. Politics of hatred and division is being played out in the country by the BJP and there is a need to find answers on how to tackle them, he said.

“There is a need to bring about organisational changes. At a time when the country is facing multiple challenges, it is natural that the Congress will discharge its responsibilities towards the people and articulate their concerns. That is why we are holding the Nav Sankalp Shivir,” he told reporters.

“We know that the country has expectations from the Congress. We know we have limitations, we know we have shortcomings and we know that we need to improve our ideology and organisation further and adapt to the changing circumstances and transform ourselves. With this thought in mind, we have organised this Chintan Shivir,” said Surjewala.

“The outcome of this conclave from the brave land of Udaipur, we feel that it will not just give direction to the Congress to tackle the present challenges but will also pave the way for India’s golden future,” he said. Gehlot also said that there will never be a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ and those wishing so will themselves be decimated.

With inputs from agencies

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