Congress advisory board likely to be modelled on National Advisory Council

New Delhi, June 8 (IANS) The advisory board, planned by Congress as part of its organisational revamp, is likely to be modelled on the National Advisory Council of the UPA government and will make recommendations to the AICC as well as state units, party sources said on Wednesday.

A party leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the advisory board is likely to be headed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and will include several senior leaders who will also engage with experts.

“It will make recommendations to AICC and state committees on various public issues after discussions. There are experts and activists who wish to contribute with their knowledge on crucial issues but do not wish to be identified with a particular party. So it will also be an exercise to engage with them,” the leader said.

Congress leaders also said that party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi wants to empower district unit chiefs, who play a vital role in mobilizing support for the party at the grassroots.

“He wants to strengthen the district committees so that grassroot workers can be empowered. At present many district presidents owe their appointments to powerful state leaders. Rahul wants decisive people as district chiefs who can take decisions on their own,” the party leader said.

He said Rahul Gandhi is keen to give more weight to the recommendations of district committees.

On the proposed advisory board, party leaders said that it could have subgroups to deliberate specific issues.

Sonia Gandhi had headed the National Advisory Councils during the previous two United Progressive Alliance governments. It had provided inputs to the government for formulation of policies.

Party leaders said that suggestions of the advisory board will be taken forward by the All India Congress Committee and the state units, including those where the party is not in power.

The board is likely to be constituted after the Rajya Sabha biennial elections on June 11. It is expected to include senior leaders including P. Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Sushil Kumar Shinde.

There has been renewed talk of organisational revamp in the party after the Congress’ poor performance in assembly elections in four major states last month.

The Congress problems have been mounting ever since. While party leader and former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi announced formation of his own party on Monday, six party legislators in Tripura on Tuesday joined the Trinamool Congress.

In another blow, Congress General Secretary Gurudas Kamat on Monday announced he was quitting the party and the political arena.

The party has over the last year seen some of its satraps leave and join the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Former Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma joined the BJP last year whereas former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna joined the BJP last month.

The Congress is facing uncertainty over the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as the party chief and there is still no final word on its timing.

There have been recurrent speculations and renewed demands that Rahul Gandhi take up the mantle from his mother Sonia Gandhi who has steered the party for 18 years.

The sources said formation of advisory board will be a clear signal the party’s moving towards Rahul Gandhi’s elevation.

–IANS

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