Youth, new media focus in Congress revival plan

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 11, 2015 01:12 IST

Seven months after receiving its worst ever drubbing in Lok Sabha polls, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has outlined a plan to revamp the party that includes effective use of social media, better youth outreach programme and more careful selection of candidates.

Gandhi in her letter on December 28 to all state presidents also made it clear that the party and not the government should “steer” policy changes.

The Congress chief has sought partymen’s views on three core areas — Congress ideology, organizational reforms to improve accountability and the way forward. She admitted that power was concentrated in the hands of a few leaders and reiterated the need for devolution of powers. The letter also pointed out that the election process in the Youth Congress was “susceptible to subversion” with the use of money power.

The background note circulated with her letter asked party workers to leverage the “enormous credibility and emotional connect” of her and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. “…the party must harness this political capital and protect it assiduously,” said the note circulated to media Saturday. The feedback from the state units, expected by mid-February, will be discussed at the next All India Congress Committee (AICC) session slated for March this year.

The note also spoke about the need for the party rather than the government to “steer” policy changes, in an indication of correction from often perceived tug-of-war between the party and the UPA-II government.

Rahul Gandhi had embarrassed the Manmohan Singh government saying the Ordinance providing relaxation to convicted legislators should be torn up.

The party also laid emphasis on connecting with youth, including first-time voters, and urban middle class for 2019 general elections. Around 12 crore first-time voters were believed to have swung the balance in BJP’s favour in the 2014 election.

The Congress has also woken up to the need to communicate aggressively and use different communication methods, including social media to shape the public narrative.

The party has reiterated its intention to devolve power to the lower units of the party while admitting that power was in the hands of few leaders and had emphasised on providing reservation to socially backwards, minority and women in the party structure.

The note also suggested that leaders should be held accountable for performance of candidates they recommend and identifying candidates one year in advance of elections. The document also talks about new frontal organizations for professional groups such as construction workers and street vendors besides social groups like fishermen and weavers.

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