At a time when the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee is brainstorming over ways to revive the party's fortunes, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has underlined the need for the party to hold free and fair organisational elections.
His comment came close on the heels of the state Congress launching a drive to enroll new members in the party. The party has targeted one million new members, while the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party aims to enlist 1.5 million.
"On more than one occasion organisational elections conducted in the past were not fair. On the last two or three occasions definite efforts were made to rig the polls. This kind of practice results in the demoralizing the genuine party workers, who instead chose to sit at home." Virbhadra told reporters on the sidelines of the party's three- day brainstorming session chaired by All India Congress Committee general secretary Ambika Soni, who is in charge of party affairs in Himachal Pradesh.
"Organisational elections should be held in such a way that every party member doesn't feel left out. It's the responsibility of the person sitting at the helm of affairs to ensure that polls are conducted in a free and fair manner. All those who had been expelled from the party somehow or the other should be taken back so as to strengthen the party by rising above petty political considerations and keeping into account labour they had made while in the party," Virbhadra said.
"I personally feel there shouldn't be too many organizational districts in the state as it could lead to demands for more administrative districts, which the state can't afford. I'm also not in favour of more panchayats except where they are required. Formation of organizational district doesn't mean separate administrative districts will be created in the state," he added.
He stressed on the need to hold such conventions at the grassroots level from time to time for better coordination among party workers and leaders, besides also underlining the need for such meetings from the block level to enable people to have a say in party affairs.
"Such conventions all over the country under the guidance of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi were proving to be inspirational and instilling confidence amongst the party workers and would prove to strengthen the cadre countrywide," he said.
"I hope the opposition parties will play a positive role in the assembly session on the budget and will discuss issues pertaining to development and public welfare," he added.