Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday vowed to ensure 50% representation to women in AICC and other party wings as he held his first formal interaction with newly-appointed party office bearers, the team set up by him for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
"Gandhi talked about how to ensure 50% representation to women in AICC...It's not about reservation. It's about their representation.
"When he observed that their (women) presence is not in the proportion it should be, he said the presence of women is less but it will definitely be 50% in the coming two-three years," party spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das told reporters after the meeting.
Ambika Sonia is the only women among the 12 AICC general secretaries, while of the 44 secretaries only five are women.
Gandhi also made it categorically clear to the office bearers, mainly general secretaries and secretaries, that those who have been given responsibility will also be held accountable.
As the reshuffled AICC now wears a younger look with 52 being the average age of office bearers, he also chose the occasion to remind the party leaders that youths should move forward by respecting seniors and taking the help of their experience.
The statement is seen as a move by Gandhi to allay misgivings, if any, among the old guards in the party and some sort of assurance that senior leaders won't be overlooked.
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, the Congress vice president emphasised on the need to connect the party with masses and directed party leaders to focus on strengthening the organisation more than anything else.
The issue of alliances was not discussed in the meeting, a party leader said, adding that there was no mention of any other party or its leader during the interaction session that lasted for more than two hours.
Asked whether Narendra Modi was discussed in the meeting, Das said, "Do you think we take interest in such things? We do not give importance to him. We totally ignore him." The newcomers thanked Gandhi for putting his trust in them and giving them responsibilities in the organisation.
"Trust begets trust and we should trust people," he said.
The Congress vice president has in his last several meetings with the party workers had laid great emphasis on working together.
To a question whether Gandhi taking most of the party building initiatives is an indication that the command is now in his hand rather than Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Das said, "Sonia Gandhi is Congress president. She is respectable for all and our top most."
The meeting came at a time when Assembly elections in four states - Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi - are on the cards this year.
Besides, AICC secretaries and general secretaries, the meeting was also attended by party treasurer Motilal Vora.
Prior to this meeting, Gandhi had held one-to-one interaction with general secretaries in-charge of various states, especially the poll-bound states.
Party leaders have been insisting that Gandhi has been impressing upon partymen to concentrate on building up the organisation and not to focus on other issues, including alliances.