iconimg Saturday, August 29, 2015

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 31, 2013
In an open house of Congress office-bearers, Rahul Gandhi, the party's newly appointed vice-president, was told among other things that tickets for elections were being sold and that "the party was in a state of confusion".

In the first formal interaction with office-bearers - where party president Sonia Gandhi was not present - Rahul prompted leaders to speak up. Opened up they did, and it was a litany on the party's malfunctioning.

The highlight of more than two-hour-long closed door inconclusive meeting during which 18 leaders spoke was the remark by general secretary Digvijaya Singh that the "party is in a state of confusion".

He urged Rahul to end that indecisive approach and fast-track the decisions regarding organisataional affairs.

His views were echoed by Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Jagmeet Singh Brar, who said the decisions on organisational matters were being "prolonged on one pretext or the other".

The Congress has often been criticised by many of its leaders for what they called the "status-quoist approach".

Another CWC member Shakeel Ahmed alleged that tickets were being sold and on many occasions in-charge of states were not being taken into confidence while taking decisions.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, who holds the dual charge as health minister and party general secretary, demanded strict enforcement of the one-man-one-post formula.

Another general secretary Birender Singh called for maintaining balance of power, which he said was otherwise limited to just few people in the party.

His colleague BK Hariprasad said the Congress was increasingly becoming the party of rich people and that many "outsiders" were nominated on boards of directors of various nationalised banks.

Sonia's political secretary Ahmed Patel lamented that leaders have become laggards and stressed on commitment and accountability factors.

He also demanded a cooling period of six years for those coming from other parties.

Senior general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said Rahul wanted leaders to speak out their mind and not hide anything for the benefit of the party.

Some general secretaries as also other leaders complained that some seniors are getting promotions despite losing states under their charge.

After the meeting, Rahul said the discussions were on "general issues and very good" and that he just listened to what the people had to say.