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Congress revamp on the cards

Next month could witness a lot of activity on the organisational front as Sonia Gandhi is expected to cut a lot of deadwood in the party at the national and state levels.

delhi Updated: Apr 15, 2007 13:00 IST
PTI

After a series of electoral defeats suffered by the party, talk has begun in the Congress about drastic changes in its organisation to revamp it ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2009.

Indications are that next month could witness a lot of activity on the organisational front as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is expected to cut a lot of deadwood in the party at the national and state levels.

It is unclear whether Gandhi, in consultation with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will carry out changes in the government too to make it more vibrant ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls.

Party sources said changes in the organisation, which were long overdue, were expected after the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Some sources even hinted at a new "Kamaraj Plan" that could soon lead to drastic changes.

They also said changes were in the offing in several state units, including in some states which will have assembly polls next month.

The Kamaraj Plan was framed by late leader P Kamaraj in 1963, and proposed that senior leaders should resign their Cabinet posts and devote their energy to revitalising the party. It had the backing of then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Two AICC leaders, general secretary Ambika Soni and CWC member A K Antony, were inducted into the government sometime back while Union Minister Oscar Fernandes is handling a number of organistional responsibilities too.

Congress sources said Gandhi will have to decide her team at the AICC with which she will face the next Lok Sabha polls. The Congress-led coalition at the Centre will complete three years next month.

In the wake of the defeat in civic polls in Delhi, the Congress leadership has spoken of "corrective steps" after the Uttar Pradesh elections while DPCC president Ram Babu Sharma and Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit have indulged in the blame game.

Assembly elections are scheduled in Delhi next year.

The sources said changes at the organisational level are in the offing in Maharashtra, where the party got a duck in recent Lok Sabha bypolls in which the Shiv Sena, BJP and NCP got a seat each.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and state party president Prabha Rau are at loggerheads there while the new entrant from the Shiv Sena, Narayan Rane, has been trying to become a major force.

Other states facing assembly polls next year are Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh.

Madhya Pradesh Congress president Subhash Yadav has been working without any PCC executive and office-bearers and changes are being talked about in the state, where Congress has not been able to get its act together despite the BJP changing two chief ministers.

First Published: Apr 15, 2007 12:56 IST