Indicating that there should be a change in the way party affairs are run, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday sought to give a greater voice to the party’s grass roots-level workers.
“The party’s nomination for MLAs and MPs will come from its block-level workers and not from ministers or the chief minister,” he said, addressing party workers at a farmhouse near Surabardi village on the outskirts of Nagpur.
During the meeting party workers complained of the increasing divide between the ranks. Mehboob Ali, taluka president of Aheri in the tribal district of Gadchiroli, complained against cabinet minister Sanjay Deotale, party in-charge of Gadchiroli, and said that he ignored party workers every time they approached him.
When Deotale tried to clarify his position, Gandhi reportedly snubbed him, and said: “Don’t talk, better work for the party and its workers”
Workers protested against the ‘groupism’ within the party, and cited this was the reason for their 50-minute delay at the interaction with Gandhi. “If groupism prevails while distributing passes for this meeting, you can imagine how senior leaders and ministers are running the party,” alleged Pravin Agare, a block-level party worker from Nagpur.
Gandhi held his day-long interaction with party workers from the block-level to district-level in groups — one group comprising four districts. After listening to grievances of party workers, he said, “Groupism is the reason for the defeat of our candidates in the elections. We should unite for the party and ensure a win for the Congress in the coming elections.”
Gandhi also asked Congress leaders about the government’s welfare schemes and appealed to all to translate the pro-people measures — such as the food security bill, land bill and pension bill — into a big win in the elections: “You have to tell people about these schemes and ensure that benefits reach the needy.”
Gandhi asks Sevadal to counter RSS ideology
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday strongly urged the Congress Sevadal workers to “counter the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideology and strengthen the secular fabric of the country”.
Gandhi, who is on a two-day trip to the state to interact with party functionaries from Vidarbha and Marathwada, also sought Sevadal workers’ feedback on the strengths, weaknesses and impact of the RSS.
The Congress Sevadal was formed by Dr NS Hardikar 90 years ago as a voluntary organization to counter the RSS and to form a dedicated team of Congress volunteers.
A senior state Sevadal functionary and one of the participants at the meeting said that Gandhi advised them to chalk out a strategy to counter the RSS’s ‘misleading’ propaganda against the Congress-led UPA government. Gandhi also reportedly told them to counter the Sangh Parivar in the ensuing parliamentary elections in favour of Congress.
Incidentally, Nagpur houses the RSS headquarters.
A senior party functionary said that Gandhi’s exercise was aimed at communicating with the party workers, especially those working at the grass roots-level, understanding their problems and taking appropriate measures to strengthen the party organisation.