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Cong talks of 'reforms with human face'

The plenary meet also saw the party asking its allies not to cross the limit of constructive criticism of the Govt.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2006 01:40 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Doing a tight-rope walk, the Congress on Sunday affirmed its commitment to coalition politics at the party plenary. The party also talked of "reforms with human face" to ward off any threat to its first-ever experiment of sharing power at the Centre.

The chorus from within for a greater role for Rahul Gandhi in the party also grew louder.

Against the backdrop of frequent criticism by Left parties and UPA constituents of government policies, the meet saw Congress asking its allies not to cross the limit of constructive criticism of the party-led government and warned in not so many words that any attempt to derail the experiment would cost them dearly.

But most vociferous was the demand entrusting Rahul, the first-time MP from Amethi, with party responsibility as speaker after speaker from Union Ministers to lower-rung and cutting across age functionaries wanted that he be included in CWC and made a General Secretary.

The Generation Next in Congress, including Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Navin Jindal, Sandeep Dikshit, Priya Dutt and others made the demand either from the stage or on the sidelines.

HRD Minister Arjun Singh, AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh and senior leader V Hanumantha Rao joined them in the demand.

The delegates eulogized Rahul as a symbol of youth, despite Sonia Gandhi saying there was no need to praise individuals.

Congress did a delicate balancing act in the resolutions including political, economic and international affairs seeking to ensure it was generally in tune with the thinking of its allies and indicating at the same time that it has not given up the dreams of restoring the past glory.

The political resolution significantly did not make any mention of single-party rule, a USP of Congress till a decade back.

Meeting in the state including Telangana region, the Congress did not offer any immediate hope to its ally Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), spearheading the statehood cause, and party leader Pranab Mukherjee said an early decision was not possible as it was "not like instant coffee".

It also dashed the hopes of an anti-Left "Mahajyot" (grand alliance) for assembly polls in West Bengal, saying there would be no truck with Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress till it parts ways with BJP.

In the political resolution adopted at the AICC, which was converted into Subjects Committee, the party spoke about "consciousness" of its responsibility as the leader of the coalition at the Centre but reminded its allies of their contributions since they also stood to gain from the coalition.

First Published: Jan 23, 2006 01:40 IST