Congress workers should also donate to party fund: K Sudhakaran
'In Kerala we had run a Rs 137 challenge campaign last year on Congress' 137th year of founding . We asked people to contribute Rs 137 for the party fund and collected Rs 13 crore,' Sudhakaran said
With the Congress’ three-day Chintan Shivir in Udaipur ending on Sunday, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president K Sudhakaran said the brainstorming session was organised for energising the party cadre and for discussing organisational matters.
“The message will trickle down to our workers that Congress is serious about changing and improving itself. From these brainstorming sessions several proposals including the inclusion of youngsters in all committees has emerged,” highlighted Sudhakaran, who was also part of the Organisation panel.
Excerpts of an interview with K. Sudhakaran:
You were part of the Organisation panel at the Chintan Shivir. Are you satisfied with the brainstorming session and how would this exercise be reflected in the working of the organisation?
The Chintan Shivir is always organised for energising the party cadre and for discussing organisational matters honestly and truthfully. From these brainstorming sessions, several proposals emerge. Some of these are considered and implemented according to importance. All PCCs will listen to the declarations of the CWC and will implement changes being proposed. We all look at it as an important exercise for the party to grow and learn. I can’t specifically say anything that was discussed, but Kerala put forth several ideas.
What are the few suggestions made by the Kerala Congress that you think are likely to be accepted by the CWC?
We had suggested a donor system to the party. This is to find people and Congress workers who are willing to contribute monthly a small amount for the functioning of the party. Donors should be able to deposit money into a specified bank account by the 10th of each month. The validity for each donor should be one year and it may be renewed.
In Kerala, we had run a Rs 137 challenge campaign this year on the 137th year of the founding of Congress party. We ran an advertisement in papers asking people to contribute Rs 137 for the party fund. The response was overwhelming and we were able to collect close to Rs. 13 crore.
We are now considering that each CUC unit should be able to contribute at least Rs 500 or even Rs 300 to the party fund. In this way, we should be able to collect at least Rs 67 crore annually. The collection from this itself would help the daily functioning of the party in the state. We would be able to help our workers and help families who would need assistance.
We recommended that the Congress Party should conduct bi-annual conferences and rallies across all tiers of the organisation, from unit committee up to state level. The conferences should begin with unit level meet at mandalam level and should culminate into block, district and finally end with the state conference.
With the rising communalism and divisive ideologies motivated by forces especially the Sangh Parivar, AICC should invite religious leaders from various faiths across the world and hold ecular summits. This is to keep a check the rising communal politics as this is the greatest threat facing the nation now.
In Kerala, you have begun a few organisational changes in the party. Will they continue after the Chintan Shivir or will other changes be made?
I expect changes will be made after the Chintan Shivir, probably in several leadership roles within various organs of the PCC. It will depend on the resolutions adopted by the CWC. But all of these changes will only be structural. We decided to make Congress Unit Committees (CUC) comprising 25-30 homes. Currently, our lowest body is booth committees consisting of 300-400 families. It is very difficult to manage such large committees and is of no help to people in the area. We want our committees to be able to help with any problem families will face.
So, organisational changes that we have proposed in Kerala Congress will continue.
With the Thrikkakkara by-elections scheduled for May 31, what do you think are the chances of UDF candidate Uma Thomas?
Congress has the upper hand. This is a seat that we have always won based on the work that the late PT Thomas did for his constituency. Whichever Congress candidate has stood there, has always won. This seat is the strong hold of Congress and we will not lose it.
We have a lot of issues that we can highlight against this LDF government and we will take it to the people. The K-Rail project itself is a big issue for the people and this is a time that the people can show what they want.
Our candidate Uma Thomas is extremely strong. She is well-loved by the people, and is one of the best we would have put forward from the seat.
Kerala is going through an extreme financial crisis. What are the reasons and how can the state overcome it?
This is also the question we are asking. In addition to this they want to take loans to implement the K-Rail project. Who will repay this amount? This is what we fear. The CM doesn’t care about the paucity of funds.
The CPI(M) party congress in Kannur was an extravagant affair for which crores of rupees were spent. What was the need to spend such a huge amount when there are people struggling for a daily meal? CPI(M) is in power in only one state and yet it was a sea of red. This was the first in CPI(M) in its entire history of the state. This itself is proof of his careless spending. There is no one who opposed Pinarayi Vijayan in party, rather people are afraid of criticising him for fear of expulsion.
Kerala has debt running into lakhs of crores. Where are they going to get the money to finance K-Rail?
We are also asking the same question. Where will they get the funds to repay the loan? Pinarayi Vijayan’s insistence on the K-Rail project is an example of his arrogance. He initially said the project would be implemented only after a survey, but now he is stating that the outcome of the survey doesn’t matter as the K-Rail project would be implemented.
Isn’t this his ego being showcased and lack of concern for the view of the people?