Chintan Shivir: Congress leaders focus on new tools of democracy to strengthen and restructure the party

Ahead of the Congress' three-day 'Nav Sankalp Shivir', a brainstorming session, Congress said they would use new tools of democracy to change the workings of the party

NH Photo by Ravi Raj
NH Photo by Ravi Raj

Ashlin Mathew

As many as 430 Congress leaders have assembled for the Shivir, the first such brainstorming session since 2013.

Taking a critical look at how the party has been functioning, Congress state in-charge Ajay Maken highlighted that the organisation has continued to work how it had for the last 50 years. “We haven’t changed as we should have,” added Maken.

Enumerating the changes that are likely to be made, Maken said that there will be changes made to the organisational structure. Currently after polling booth committees, there is only a block committee. The party intends to now ensure one block will comprise 3 mandals and each mandal will comprise 15-20 booth committees.

“We will set a timeline for the implementation of this and we are hoping within two-three months, it will be done,” explained Maken.

The party is hoping to constitute a public insight department; one which will survey public sentiment and report it to the party. “We will not outsource it. We should have a connect with the mood of the public and must understand what they want. Why should we outsource it?” asked Maken.

With the intention of rewarding those working hard for the party, Maken said the party will promote those who work hard for the party and those not contributing to the growth of the party, will be left behind.

“The party also intends to ensure that 50% people on every committee and group will be those lesser than 50 years of age,” added Maken.

Addressing the question of many people in the family getting tickets and positions within Congress, Maken said they are hoping to follow the ‘one family, one ticket’ policy and one person can stick in an organisational position for only 5 years after which there would be a cooling period.

Gaurav Gogoi said they are following an extensive process to elect members across the party and the wishes of the people will be what is paramount.

“In case, more than one person in the family want to align with the Congress, they should work for the party for at least five years before being given an organisational post or a ticket for contesting elections,” underlined Maken.

On the question of the Gandhis helming the party, Maken said organisational polls were a separate issue and that is being taken toward separately.

Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge, who is the convenor of the political actions group said that they would want to first set their house in order before forming alliances.

Addressing the issue of alliances, Kharge added that they will form alliances only with parties that are secular and believe in the Constitution.

While the country is celebrating the 75th year of independence, India’s constitutional values are being eroded. “Institutional integrity is being weakened.

The Central Govt wants to weaken the Constitution, so we will discuss how to counter it. Congress thinks and worries about the country. We will discuss and deliberate about these issues,” underscored Kharge.

The political committee will deliberate on the attack on Constitution; attack on minorities; rising communal polarisation; protecting integrity of institution and autonomous bodies; Centre- state relationships; alliance with regional parties; on the North-east States and Jammu and Kashmir.

Prakash Bhandari adds: AICC spokesperson Pawan Khera said the entire north east is one of the most neglected region of the country. He said the youth of the north east is suffering most because of lack of job opportunities as the economic growth of the region has not improved with the change of government there.

AICC general secretary for Rajasthan Ajay Maken said the party will lay a lot of stress on youth as it now felt that for any political party it should have a strong cadre base. He said the party is now thinking in terms of rebranding itself as a dynamic party by inducting persons below the age of 50. The party as a rule will ask its worker to work for the organisation for five years, before he would be permitted to take any position in the party at all level.

He said the party would now emphasise on building a team at the booth and at Mandal level. This would help the party to create a strong force that once worked wonders, but over the years the process of building cadre-based party suffered because of the neglect.

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Published: 13 May 2022, 1:04 PM