Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi addresses party leaders during the party's 'Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir', in Udaipur. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: The Congress president Sonia Gandhi read the riot act to her party leaders at the Chintin Shivir – the three days brainstorming session currently underway in Udaipur. She made it clear that changes in the organisation were the "need of the hour" and underlined the requirement for change in the "way of working". She asked the party workers and the leaders to ‘pay back its karz (debt)’ to the party that has ‘given them everything’.
The Congress president said, "Changes in organisation are the need of the hour, we need to change the way of our working. We have to keep the organisation above personal ambitions." Mrs Gandhi made it clear to the delegates that all opinions are welcome but within the confines of the party forum.
She further added, "There is a need for a change in strategy and in how we work every day. Our resurgence can only happen through massive collective effort and that effort cannot be delayed and will not be delayed."
After the electoral loss in the five assembly polls in March the Congress high command was under siege. In order to rejuvenate the cadres and also to tackle the organisational lapses some measures were necessitated. Though the deliberations will go on for another day, some changes have been made.
The Congress will make an assessment wing comprising of leaders who will reward or remove anyone as per their performance. This was one of the demands of the dissident group that had been complaining that even after electoral losses nobody is made responsible. The party will make a public insight wing, which will be an in-house survey team and will do day-to-day surveys to get fresh feedback about the issues and party.
According to Congress general secretary Ajay Maken, who is also a member of the coordination committee of the Shivir, the ‘one family, one ticket’ rule may find unanimous acceptance. He, however, added that there would be an exception to the rule and a second or more persons of a family can contest elections if they have worked for a minimum of five years in the party.
The exception for now lay to rest the speculations on the impact of the rule on the Gandhi family and also whether it would apply to the Gandhis or not.
Any office-bearer cannot hold a post for more than five years and the person has to step down. There will be a cooling off period of three years before a new assignment is given. All committees will have 50 per cent office-bearers, who will be under 50 years of age. The party will make mandal committees on every 20 booths and each block will have five to 10 mandal committees.
Addressing the media Mr Maken said, "The organisation will see some big changes when the suggestions are implemented as part of the Udaipur Declaration. These changes are imperative since the organisation has not changed in tune with the change in times. While new tools of democracy have emerged, the Congress’ organisation has remained unchanged for the last 50-60 years, while our opponents have been faster than us in using these tools."