Rahul Gandhi reaches out to Cong veterans for new beginning

  • Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 30, 2015 00:41 IST

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has reached out to several party veterans and sought their views on strengthening the organisation, signalling a bid to address the growing anxiety among the old guard over a possible generational shift.

Veterans such as Makhan Lal Fotedar, RK Dhawan and Mohsina Kidwai have also been asked to suggest names of individuals who could be groomed into future leaders, Congress sources said. The move comes at a time when the organisational elections, scheduled to be concluded by December this year, have been postponed by a year.

“The senior leaders have already sent their respective lists and Rahulji has also met some of the individuals suggested by the veterans,” a party functionary said on condition of anonymity.

He said the shortlisted individuals could be sent to different states as observers to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the party organisation. Rahul had also asked state units to forward five names who could be groomed as future leaders at central and state levels.

After his return from a nearly two-month-long sabbatical, Rahul has been meeting party leaders and workers to elicit their views on strengthening the organisation that is still struggling to recover from a series of electoral defeats.

The rout in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi in 2013 was followed by the party’s worst ever performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in which the party managed to win just 44 seats.

As he was away, many seniors such as Sheila Dikshit and Captain Amarinder Singh had suggested that Sonia Gandhi should continue to lead the party for the time being. On his return, Rahul has been leading from the front both inside and outside Parliament and has visited several states as part of his nationwide padyatra in support of farmers.

Nervousness among veterans over a possible generational shift and proposed reforms in the organisational structure had been getting increasingly palpable since Rahul was elevated to party vice-president on January 19, 2013.

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