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New Delhi, Dec 24: Grappling to arrest the party’s sliding base, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today held consultations with AICC general secretaries and asked them to reach out to workers at the grassroots for feedback on how to take the party forward after successive poll debacles. Congress sources said a meeting of AICC could be called to discuss the suggestions received after two months, when the process closes. The party also plans to come out with a compilation of the suggestions in a booklet form. Also Read - WATCH | Congress MPs Burn Copies of Farm Bills in Parliament, Say 'Will Reduce BJP to Ashes'
In the meeting, Gandhi asked the general secretaries to prepare a report within two months with feedback from block and district level workers. After the Lok Sabha poll debacle, Gandhi himself had held interactions with young and senior party leaders from various states in groups to take their feedback on how to strengthen the party at the grassroots and make a turn around. Also Read - 'Not Allowed to Speak': Congress MPs Walk Out From Lok Sabha, Demand Debate on India-China Border Issue
Issues like how to widen the party’s reach, what should Congress organisation look like and whether any changes are required, and how to push the core ideology of Congress among people and convey to the cadres with clarity were discussed, party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said at the AICC briefing. Asked whether there was discussion about how to create a cadre base like that of BJP, Ahmed said Congress is already a party with cadres and has evolved from mass movement.
“Every party tries to strengthen its cadre base,” he said evading a direct reply. In the morning meeting in which chiefs of Congress’s frontal wings like Mahila Congress, Youth Congress, NSUI and Seva Dal participated, Gandhi asked the leaders to connect with the masses as part of the ongoing effort to strengthen the party following the Lok Sabha poll debacle. One of the issues on which Gandhi was particularly focussed was how to widen the party’s reach and connect with NGOs, employees’ unions and other bodies.
“The process which Gandhi has begun at the national level has to be taken to the states,” Ahmed said. The Congress Vice President had been meeting party leaders from various states in groups to take their feedback on how to strengthen the party at the grassroots and make a turn around. He has met around 400 such party workers so far. “Rahul Gandhi has already met leaders in groups from most of the states. In the last two months, he held interactions with 300 to 400 workers. He asked us today to carry forward the same at district and block levels,” Ahmed said.
Gandhi asked the general secretaries to prepare a report within two months with feedback from block and district level workers to reinvigorate the party and widen its mass-base. The deadline for membership enrolment for the party for the next organisational election too comes to end in February. Today’s meeting came a day after BJP romped home in alliance in Jharkhand Assembly elections and put up an impressive show in Jammu and Kashmir. In both the states, Congress was in the ruling alliance.
Losses in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand come soon after Congress’s debacle in two-party ruled states of Maharashtra and Haryana in October. There is a view in the party that since the next general elections will be held five years from now, it is time for the party to focus on its organisation in the states. The defeat trail of Congress has not stopped since the Lok Sabha polls, which saw its tally dropping to an abysmal 44 from 206 in 2009. Barring the Assembly election results in some states a few months ago, there has been no silver lining for the party in the past six months.