Rahul Gandhi likely to unveil blueprint for Congress revival at three-day plenary

During the session, the party will pass four resolutions on political and economic fronts, foreign policy, agriculture and unemployment.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2018 07:34 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Raghul Gandhi,Congress Plan,Congress Revival Plan
Congress president Rahul Gandhi at Parliament during second phase of budget session, in New Delhi.(PTI File Photo)

Is the Congress ready to shed its status quoist tag and take hard decisions as it prepares to fight a rampant BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections? The answer may lie in Rahul Gandhi’s choice of candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.

Selecting the “right” candidates for the Rajya Sabha elections was a key test for the 47-year Gandhi, who took over the reins of the grand old party from his mother Sonia Gandhi two months ago .

Gandhi nominated local leaders as the party’s candidates, ignoring, in the process, some well-entrenched Congressmen. The move has rekindled hopes among Congress workers that Gandhi may be willing to take tough decisions in the party’s interest.

Sonia Gandhi would try not to antagonise the “Delhi coterie” and at times ignore the aspirations of regional leaders.

“Rahulji’s decision to field local leaders in Rajya Sabha elections has gone down well within the rank and file. It marks a significant shift in the party’s policies when it comes to rewarding hard working local workers,” senior Congress leader from Bihar Kishore Kumar Jha said.

“I am confident this will also check the growth of paratroopers and opportunists who seek all the benefits and then desert the party at critical times. The move will also encourage regional leaders to put in more effort on the ground and work for the party’s revival across the country,” he added.

Commenting on Rahul’s style of functioning, Sonia Gandhi said last week at an event that every person has a particular style of working.

“What Rahul has always been keen on is to revitalise the party, to have younger and new people. That does not mean to sideline older people but to have a balance,” the former Congress chief said at the India Today Conclave in Mumbai.

Political analysts say it is too early to judge Rahul but add that his “periodic absences and silences” are issues which he needed to address. “Sonia has a very mature political sense. She had much more experience and whenever she intervened it was with a purpose,” said Delhi-based political analyst, Professor Balveer Arora.

“Rahul is still perfecting his style. He is working on it and seems to have made some improvements but the main problem that arises in his case is the lack of consistency. In politics, one has to be consistent. You can’t shine on some occasions and be totally lacklustre on others,” he added.

Arora insisted that Gandhi will have to spell out his plans to revive the Congress, which had suffered a series of electoral setbacks since the crushing defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

He is expected to do just that and present a blueprint and roadmap for revival at the three-day party plenary to be held at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, beginning Friday.

The plenary will not only ratify his election as the Congress president but also set the tone for the party’s poll strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

The document Gandhi presents, according to a party leader who did not want to be named, would be a “guiding light” for the party workers and also specify the strategy to be adopted while striking alliances with “like-minded” parties to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.

During the three-day session, the party will pass four resolutions: on the political and economic fronts, foreign policy, and agriculture and unemployment. The Congress will also pledge special status to Andhra Pradesh.

To reconnect with farmers and young people, the Congress will highlight the agrarian crisis and joblessness.

On Friday, the opening day of the plenary top Congress leaders, who are a part of the Steering Committee formed in place of the Working Committee, will discuss the resolutions and chalk out the agenda for the session. Gandhi will also take a call on whether to take the election route to reconstitute the CWC or continue with the nomination culture.

First Published: Mar 16, 2018 07:34 IST