In what may sound jarring to many prospective ticket seekers, Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday suggested that the Haryana Congress president, district and block presidents should not contest elections. “Rather that they should work for the organisation and should not seek tickets,’’ Gandhi reportedly told party leaders and workers during a day-long interaction here on Wednesday. Gandhi was in Panchkula for a Haryana Congress session where he met party MPs, MLAs, office bearers of district level Congress committees and block presidents in separate sessions.
The Congress vice-president also told party leaders not to take their tickets for granted as he would himself be taking stock of their performance. Rahul who held eight rounds of meetings with party rural and urban block level leaders, student and youth wings, besides MLAs and MPs also asked them to shun the “VIP culture and adopt culture of simplicity” which alone would help them in coming days. He also had a word of praise for the initiatives being taken by state government.
The increasing gap between party workers and the state government emerged as one of the areas of concern during the meeting. Several party leaders and workers complained there was huge gap between party workers, the government and its bureaucracy. Union Minister and Ambala MP, Kumari Selja also complained that bureaucracy did not listen to workers and even after complaints of misbehaviour, bureaucrats were not shifted out. Ambala MLA Venod Sharma also pointed out they did not get due regard from the bureaucrats.
However, Rahul Gandhi appealed all the leaders, specially the senior ones, to do away with their differences and work unitedly for the party. He also asked them to hold regular meetings with the workers and give importance to their suggestions and demands.
Selja gripes, leads chorus against party infighting
Ambala MP and Union Minister Kumari Selja on Wednesday complained about infighting within the party during an interaction with Rahul Gandhi. Selja reportedly told Rahul that she faced infighting in 2009 Lok Sabha elections which affected her poll prospects. She also raised the issue of groupism within the state Congress unit which harmed her during the elections.State Congress president Phool Chand Mullana too attributed his defeat in 2009 assembly polls to party infighting.
Mullana said that most of the time leaders/workers who indulge in anti-party activities should remained expelled for six years.
The Ambala MP was also vocal while raising the issue of an upsurge in atrocities committed against Dalits in Haryana. Selja who herself is Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment said that the state administration needed to pay more attention towards cases of atrocities and violence against Dalits. She was speaking during the session on Ambala and Kurukshetra Lok Sabha seats.
Panchkula block president Lily Bawa, who was present during the Ambala-Kurukshetra session said that Rahul was keener on talking to grass root workers and was quite focussed.
Block Congress Committee president, NIT Faridabad, Neeraj Sharma said during the Gurgaon-Faridabad Lok Sabha seat session that the party should have a separate cell for the migrants. Sharma also demanded constitution of Haryana Migrant Welfare Board saying that 50 % of the population in Faridabad and Gurgaon Parliamentary constituencies comprised of migrants but they only had 25-30% votes.
While addressing representatives from local bodies and panchayati raj institutions, Rahul said that there were three platforms of governance-Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and Panchayats/local bodies. He said that they needed to strengthen the panchayats/local bodies. Workers complained that Block Development Officers did not listen to them and voters complained that we could not get their work done. One of the workers demanded that they should be given power to write ACRs of these officials.
“About 2,000 delegates attended the seven sessions including the extended Pradesh Congress Committee meeting which was attended by Youth Congress and National Students Union of India (NSUI),” informed Ravinder Rawal, part of organising committee.
AICC general secretary BK Hariparsad, Rajya Sabha MP from Haryana Birender Singh, Sirsa MP Ashok Tanwar, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Haryana Congress president Phool Chand Mullana, Indian Youth Congress president Rajeev Satav, NSUI national president, Rohit Chaudhary, MPs, MLAs, party office bearers and elected representatives of various Panchayati Raj Institutions and urban local bodies attended the meeting.