To be Cong leader, get your NREGA right | india | Hindustan Times
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To be Cong leader, get your NREGA right

You don't have to necessarily remember the birthdays of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to be selected as a torchbearer of the Congress, reports Soumyajit Pattnaik.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2008 11:49 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik

You don't have to necessarily remember the birthdays of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to be selected as a torchbearer of the Congress. But you sure need to know how the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme works, and what the loan waiver for farmers is all about. And of course, you need to have a vision, and offer solutions to party problems.

The first day of the Congress ‘talent hunt’ in Orissa — Rahul Gandhi’s plan to select young men and women who would energise the party at various levels — saw a huge rush. Over 600 people aged under 35 turned up at the party headquarters, out of which 200 made it to the interview. Some looked tense as names were called out for the interview.

Mousumi Ali Besant, from Jajpur district, was asked about problems in the Congress. She was also asked what went wrong with Rahul’s two tours to Orissa in March and May. She spoke her mind, blaming poor state leadership. She told the interview panel — AICC secretary Jitendra Singh among others — how the workers were not briefed.

Mousumi was asked one last question: birthdays of Sonia and Rahul? She couldn’t answer, but got a thumbs-up for a party job. S.K. Behara of Jagatsinghpur couldn’t answer questions on NREGA and got a thumbsdown.

“Rahulji asked us to do these talent hunts in the state to bring in young blood,” Jitendra Singh told HT. “We are looking at candidates’ oratory skills, energy, social work record, commitment to party ideology, vision and personality.” And you thought anyone can enter politics these days?