Senior Journalist & Creator
The Congress Chintan Shivir at Udaipur resulted within the Gandhis consolidating their maintain over the grand previous get together. The dissenters, aka G-23, did not articulate their considerations or pose any type of management problem to Rahul, Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi.
There are a number of ‘optimistic’ and ‘unfavorable’ takeaways from the conclave. The get together did effectively to encourage and promote youthful folks, promising to accommodate 50 per cent of the nominees in elections who can be underneath 50. It’s a tall order. The duty of figuring out 272 Lok Sabha candidates beneath the age of fifty for the 2024 parliamentary polls can be a frightening project, notably if winnability is given prime consideration. Ditto for ticket aspirants from girls, weaker sections and minorities classes. Priyanka Gandhi’s latest experiment in Uttar Pradesh, giving 40 per cent meeting seats to girls candidates failed to seek out any traction even among the many feminine voters.
It should, nevertheless, be borne in thoughts that Rahul Gandhi has all alongside fancied himself as a youth icon and ‘dreamer’ on the strains of Rajiv Gandhi of 1985. It’s a completely different matter that thus far, he has did not promote a single Twenty first-century trigger to the younger. Between 2004 and 2014, when the Congress-led UPA was in energy, Rahul showcased a band of younger MPs however most of them have been younger dynasts who’ve now parked themselves within the BJP. In actual phrases, their presence within the Congress and Manmohan Singh’s Council of Ministers had discouraged the grassroots staff who have been made to understand that the leaders have been parachuted from the highest. Rahul himself candidly admitted that the Gandhi ‘tag’ helped him emerge on prime.
Rahul’s expertise hunt drive ran in sharp distinction to what the Youth Congress had stood for in 1975-76, when Sanjay Gandhi’s associates have been in contrast with ‘Hitler’s storm-troopers’ or Mao’s ‘Pink Guards’. The Youth Congress then was considered as ‘hardcore, loyal, devoted, disciplined, ideologically dedicated staff’. In reality, the youth wing of the Congress peaked throughout 1976 to 1981 when Sanjay Gandhi was calling the pictures. Members of Sanjay’s group nonetheless type a spine of types within the present-day Congress, reminiscent of Kamal Nath, Ambika Soni, Vayalar Ravi, AK Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mukul Wasnik, Ashok Gehlot, Digvijaya Singh and BK Hariprasad.
It’s fascinating to notice that after the 1977 Normal Election was introduced, Sanjay made positive that Youth Congress leaders received a hundred-odd Lok Sabha tickets. Because of this, the Youth Congress remained fiercely loyal to the management. When the counting for the 1977 Lok Sabha polls was occurring within the
Tis Hazari court docket of Delhi, jubilant Janata Get together and Jan Sangh staff shouted, ‘Congressi dikhao, sau rupaye pao’. Some Congress leaders selected to swallow the humiliation however the Youth Congress leaders determined to problem them despite the fact that the counting had proven that every one Congress nominees from Delhi have been trailing. ‘Haan hum hain Congressi, lao sau rupaye,’ they shouted again. After all, no financial reward was given to them.
The Udaipur meet additionally noticed the Congress management candidly admitting that the get together has misplaced ‘join’ with the lots. The management, nevertheless, opted for a remedy that appeared excessive on optics however low on supply. The proposal for a nationwide padyatra from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is extraordinarily bold and adventurous.
As per one estimate, this padyatra could devour time operating into yr and a half contemplating roadshows, stopovers and different constraints. The query in Congress circles is whether or not Rahul and Priyanka can be main from the entrance or symbolically flagging off batches of yatris from one city to the opposite. Such a course could expose them to criticism and mock. In spite of everything, from Mahatma Gandhi to Chandrashekhar, Sunil Dutt, YS Rajasekhara Reddy to Digvijaya Singh, the political superstars took backbreaking expeditions dealing with a number of challenges. The thought of ‘Bharat Jodo’ sounds nice however the grand previous get together must fine-tune its ideological dilemmas. As reported earlier, Kamal Nath, Bhupesh Baghel and different North Indian get together leaders pitched for a ‘non secular outreach’ (learn Hindu outreach) and a better participation in Dahi Handi, Ganesh Utsav, Durga festivals. Nevertheless, Congress leaders from Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra are mentioned to have cautioned towards it and favoured the participation of get together leaders in such occasions of their ‘private capability’. Sometimes, the Congress management dithered and the problem was not clinched at Udaipur.
The formation of an ‘Perception Division’ to always learn the temper of the folks gives promise. However ask any Congress chief of consequence, the expertise of Vishvjit Prithvijit Singh to Praveen Chakravarty has been removed from being encouraging. Similar to the [in]well-known intelligence division suggestions and assessments to the outgoing governments, the Congress management invariably discovered considerably comforting info and figures when the precise outcomes dealt blows. The newest within the lengthy sequence was the end result of the Punjab and Uttarakhand Meeting polls.
Equally, the creation of a separate division for election administration sounds good. However similar to the Perception Division, this division would require skilled contact and out-of-the-box considering, one thing ballot strategist Prashant Kishor had really helpful. The Gandhis should still be questioning if it might not be naïve or too late to remodel some supply to Kishor.
The formation of an advisory group throughout the CWC is wanting reviving the get together’s Central Parliamentary Board. The Congress get together structure vests supreme powers within the parliamentary board. Nevertheless, Sonia Gandhi is claimed to have indicated that the proposed advisory group can be from throughout the CWC. At current, the CWC has 57 members, together with everlasting invitees however doesn’t embrace Sachin Pilot, Kamal Nath, DK Shivakumar, Bhupendra Singh Hooda, Bhupesh Baghel, Ashok Gehlot, Prithviraj Chavan and different leaders. Would this panel with out the likes of Pilot, Nath, Baghel, Hooda or Shivakumar carry a lot weight?
Days after Chintan Shivir, the Congress suffered a blow when the Gujarat get together unit working president, Hardik Patel, parted methods, making some hard-hitting and politically embarrassing remarks. The Gandhis, notably Rahul, had stored tolerating Hardik’s whimsical methods, hoping that his presence would offer wealthy dividends within the Gujarat Meeting polls later this yr. The Hardik episode has once more uncovered the Congress’ vulnerability in inducting ‘prize catches’ on excessive organisational posts with out contemplating ideological compatibility.