The All India Congress Committee session of November 17 was brief and minus the high-decibel political agenda and fanfare usually attached to such mega shows. Unveiling an imprint for the future while carefully trudging the coalition path seemed to be the purpose behind the meet, which was met to an extent.
Expectedly, the theme of the meeting revolved around Rahul Gandhi, coming as it did after his installation as AICC general secretary. And though he maintained a low profile, occupying a back seat on the dais, the senior leaders and delegates would have none of that.
“The Congress is not only a historic party but also a party that can take the nation into the future” is how Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lent credence to the party’s future imprint. His reference to young leaders, like Rahul, leading the Congress and the country to new glory was a reflection of the party’s future plans.
The meeting was able to deliver a message about the portrayal of Rahul as a ray of hope for the Congress’ future. It also unveiled a package to back the emergence of a young leadership in the days to come, with steps to regain the party’s traditional vote bank as an important ingredient.
All government endeavours to target different groups thorough ambitious welfare schemes would be of little consequence unless backed by a vibrant party machinery to reap the benefits politically. Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s remark that neither she nor Rahul possessed any magic wand and that ultimately, the worker had to deliver, was perhaps guided by this feeling. But the Rahul factor came in handy for the party to ignite the rank and file at the AICC meeting.
Also, the outcome of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and some other states has compelled the Congress leadership to mull ways to re-jig the caste factor in the party’s favour. This reflected in the resolutions and speeches of the PM and Sonia. The appointment of Rita Bahuguna Joshi (a Brahmin) as UPCC chief and the government’s decision to name welfare schemes after the party’s leading lights, like Babu Jagjivan Ram, are all steps in this direction.
Sonia’s assertion on greater coordination between the Congress and the state governments ruled by it has its manifestation in certain legislative measures of the Centre focused on Muslims, women, tribals, etc, and matching moves at the AICC level as well.
On the subject of coalition politics, the party feels looking beyond it is not only an act of political expediency to checkmate allies and supporting parties, it also has a lot to do with raising the spirits of a section of leaders and the rank and file who are either against repeated experiments with coalitions in the states (yielding no tangible results) or have become complacent in the face of prolonged spells in the opposition.