Congress to make plenary ‘worker-centric’, likely to spell out stance on alliances

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New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) The Congress is expected to state its position on alliances for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and unveil a vision document at its plenary beginning here on Friday with party chief Rahul Gandhi keen on making the three-day event “worker-centric and not leader-centric”.

The plenary, being held after eight years, will ratify Rahul Gandhi’s election as Congress President and outline party’s strategies to oust the Narendra Modi government in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Rahul Gandhi, 47, was elected party chief in December last and the plenary will have his definitive stamp.

Party leaders said that Rahul Gandhi is keen that it is a “workers’ plenary” and those working at the grass roots would contribute in a big way during the deliberations on the resolutions.

“The focus of plenary earlier always used to be the Congress President. Rahul ji wants to shift the foucs of plenary away from himself to workers, ideologogy and resolutions. It is a major shift. Their (the workers) suggestions will be noted and also incorporated in the resolutions,” a party leader said.

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Names of workers who would get a chance to speak have been drawn up on the suggestions of state units.

Rahul Gandhi is also keen on greater contribution from the youth during the plenary and party leaders said that many of the AICC members, who will take part in the deliberations, were young in keeping with the country’s demographic profile.

“The Congress President wants a new set of ideas to come forth,” the leader said.

It is not clear yet if Rahul Gandhi will opt for election to the Congress Working Committee in keeping with his oft-repeated thrust on internal democracy or opt to nominate them as has been the general practice in the party.

There have been suggestions that he should follow the route adopted by his mother during her 19-year stewardship of the party and not exercise the option, provided in the party constitution, of going for elections to choose half the members of CWC, the highest decision-making body of the party.

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The political resolution is likely to spell out the party’s stance on alliances amid several suggestions that opposition parties should come together against the BJP-led NDA in 2019.

The Congress has grown considerably weak since the last plenary, when it led the ruling coalition at the Centre besides several states. It is now ruling in only Punjab, Karnataka and Mizoram, besides Puducherry.

The Congress has not been able to stage sustained comeback after its debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and faces the challenge this year to oust the BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh besides defending its government in Karnataka.

Keen to build a grass-roots campaign against the Modi govenrment, the party will come out with “facts sheets” in the form of booklets on agriculture, economy, youth, weaker sections, besides national security.

The political resolution is expected to spell out ways in which the party will go about retrieving its lost ground and political space.

It is also expected to target the government on the around Rs 13,000 crore PNB fraud and the near washout so far of the second half of Budget Session of Parliament.

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There will be a separate resolution on agriculture, poverty alleviation and unemployment.

This is in keeping with stance of Rahul Gandhi who has been consistently attacking the Modi government on issues concerning farmers and unemployment.

The economic resolution is expected to highlight the “mismanagement of economy” by the government.

The plenary will begin with a meeting of steering committee on Friday which would finalise the draft resolutions.

Rahul Gandhi’s speech on Saturday morning is expected to set the tone of plenary. He will also make the concluding remarks.

While former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would address the plenary, there is no certainty yet if Sonia Gandhi will speak.

While slamming the BJP-led government , the Congress is expected to present its alternative policies in the form of a vision document.

The party has invited ambassadors and high commissioners of prominent friendly nations to the plenary.

–IANS

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