A group of Congress veterans assembled at the Constitution Club on Thursday for a brainstorming session on “how to revitalise” the party.
Organised by former union minister and senior leader Aslam Sher Khan, the chintan baithak also deliberated on ways to inspire partymen to strengthen the political system, governance and national values.
The session witnessed some “tough talk” by the seniors with speaker after speaker hitting out at the “coterie” — though no one was named — around Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi for “deliberately keeping them away from ordinary party workers for their own vested interests”.
Initiating the discussion, Khan said though the Congress is capable of fighting corruption, communalism, it “needs proper guidance and direction”.
Former MP JK Jain said: “There are so many general secretaries. They hardly interact with the leaders of states, which are under their charge. They don’t even seek advice from their bhule bisre (forgotten) leaders….There should be regular interactions and exchanges between us and the general secretaries and the Congress president as well.”
Another senior leader Sunil Shastri said: “The Congress party is ill. It needs to be revitalised. We have faith in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, but our powerhouse is surrounded by few people and we can not meet them. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi should understand that party cannot be run by just one or two people”.
The leaders claimed that the distance between the leadership and party workers has “widened” over the years.
“This needs to be arrested to recharge the workers who are vital for the Congress to return to power with absolute majority in next elections…The party also needs to be freed of these power brokers,” they said.