In a first, Congress to name new Bihar chief after workers’ feedback
Two recently-appointed secretaries, Virender Singh Rathore and Rajesh Lilothia, have been assigned separate Bihar districts as part of the plan and asked to record party workers’ feedback on potential candidates.Updated: Jun 07, 2018, 22:53 IST
The Congress will select its new Bihar chief after taking feedback from party workers across different districts of the state, party general secretary Shaktisinh Gohil has said.
The move would mark the first time that the grand old party would select a state unit chief after seeking the opinion of its grassroots workers. Till now, state presidents have been directly nominated by the party’s central leadership.
Gohil said the two recently-appointed secretaries — Virender Singh Rathore and Rajesh Lilothia — have been assigned separate Bihar districts as part of the plan and asked to record party workers’ feedback on potential candidates.
“The secretaries will also identify the organisational weaknesses at the grassroots level and seek suggestions from the workers on how to address them... Their feelings and views will be considered,” he said.
A detailed report will later be submitted to Congress president Rahul Gandhi and subsequently the new chief will be appointed. “I think in next 5-6 days, we will be able to finalise the name (of Bihar unit chief),” Gohil said.
According to Congress leaders, the aim behind the move was to reach a broader consensus on the selection of the new state unit chief who the workers feel would be able to strengthen the party and carry everybody along.
“It is a positive move. This will eventually lead to empowerment of workers who will henceforth have a greater say in the decision-making (process) in the organisation,” Bihar Congress general secretary Kesar Singh said and added “this is also an outreach programme and will help in the Congress party’s revival in the state.”
Political observers said the initiative would encourage interactive communication and feedback-based decisions in the Congress. “They (Congress) are learning slowly. The move has a multi-dimensional approach. The first is to involve the workers, second get their feedback and third make them participate in the decision-making process,” said Delhi-based political analyst N Bhaskara Rao.
Faced with rampant factionalism in Bihar, the Congress has been hit with desertions in the past several months. In March this year, former state Congress chief Ashok Chaudhary and his close associates Dilip Kumar Choudhary, Ramchandra Bharti and Tanvir Akhtar joined the Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal (United).
State Congress leaders were of the view that indecisiveness on part of the Congress high command in naming a new Bihar chief and a growing infighting would cost the party dearly in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The delay in selecting a state chief has further added to the frustration among the workers, they said.
Gandhi has been a votary of giving a strong voice to the workers besides ensuring their greater involvement in the decision-making process.
The move is a follow up to the party’s other plan of identifying and grooming potential young regional leaders for a larger role in the organisation, for which too talent scouts had been asked to seek feedback from party workers and the general public on district and state-level leaders.
Before this initiative, Gandhi had introduced the primaries-style selection of candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. As many as 16 Lok Sabha constituencies were picked up for the US-type experiment and workers were asked to select the party candidates.
However, the project was soon shelved due to strong opposition from within the party.