Rahul considers advisory panel in Congress to discuss public policies

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Jun 08, 2016 11:58 IST
In this file photo, Congress party vice-president Rahul Gandhi gestures during an address at a farmers' rally at Ramlila ground in New Delhi. (REUTERS)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is considering the option of setting up an advisory body to deliberate over public policies in the party.

The move comes amid the growing clamour within the party over organisational reshuffle and Rahul’s elevation to the top post of Congress president held by his mother, Sonia Gandhi. There is, however, no clarity on when the much-awaited reshuffle till take place.

Sources close to Gandhi told HT that he has already sound out a few senior leaders about an advisory council.

“Whether it will happen or not, is not clear. But he has spoken about the need for such a body in close quarters and started initial discussions with a few Congress leaders,” said a close aide of Gandhi.

“Senior members who have wide range of experience in public policy and lawmaking would be part of the council. If it is formed, Congress president Sonia Gandhi is likely to head it,” said a leader.

During the UPA regime, the Congress-led government had constituted the National Advisory Council (NAC) to guide and suggest policies and propose laws, especially in the social sector.

“Currently, in the Congress there is no such structure to specifically discuss and formulate the stand on public policies. The proposed body will not only scrutinize the NDA government’s social sector policies but also come up with new public policies to be spearheaded by the Congress,” said a senior functionary.

A Congress leader admitted that while the NAC had a huge responsibility to guide the government of the day, the new advisory council will handle a limited mandate to help the party in the Opposition benches. “To give an example, the proposed body may review the current education policy in the light of the target of universal education. The Congress might come up with its own policy on how to reach this important milestone,” said a leader.

The BJP, after coming to power in 2014, had constituted a margdarshak mandal but the advisory body is widely seen as a virtually non-functional body of veterans, which has no role in the running of the government. “The advisory council, if formed, will be a very active body and it will play a key role in the party’s policy-making,” said a leader.

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