Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has called to Delhi leaders from across the country to draw up a strategy to “revive” the party and “stop the BJP’s upsurge” under Narendra Modi, sources said.
Reeling under its worst Lok Sabha performance, the Congress a week ago also lost power in Haryana and Maharashtra, adding to the growing unease in the rank and file about the lack of action on part of the leadership.
Over the next few days, Rahul was expected to hold a series of meetings with party colleagues, sources said. On Thursday, he chaired a meeting of party leaders, including Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni, Jaipal Reddy, Jairam Ramesh, Sachin Pilot and Meenakshi Natarajan, sources said.
Party president Sonia Gandhi was not in the four-hour “first of its kind” meeting -- a signal that Rahul may play a more pro-active role in the party in the coming months. The focus was on the revival of the party and motivating and training the cadres, said sources.
“There is a disconnect not only between the party and the people, but also between the party and the cadres,” a leader who was at the meeting quoted Rahul as saying.
“The talks were also focused on ways to revamp the party and motivate the workers. Training procedures were also discussed,” the leader said.
Many of the participants expressed concern over the “Nehruvian legacy getting lost”, with the NDA regime seeking to appropriate Congress’ icons, sources said.
“Earlier Congress workers rose in the ranks by adhering to a Nehruvian legacy of selfless social service. This is absent now. Moreover, uninterrupted stints in power have not helped building the ideology of social service,” a source quoted another senior leader as saying.
The meetings, said sources, could be a precursor to an organisational revamp in which Rahul was likely to give a prominent role to young leaders.