The Congress’s three-day ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Rajasthan’s Udaipur from May 13 is meant to brainstorm on a roadmap for the revival of the party’s fortunes, but could see a clamour for return of Rahul Gandhi as party chief grow and some sections are likely to raise the demand, sources said.
The demand was formally raised recently at a CWC meeting but it was said that organizational polls have already been announced.
The most vocal voices in the party for Rahul Gandhi’s return are its two Chief Ministers Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan) and Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh), apart from Randeep Surjewala, K.C. Venugopal and other Rahul loyalists.
In the Chintan Shivir, Rahul Gandhi will speak as a second last speaker just ahead of party chief Sonia Gandhi, and the party hopes to get a new path of revival from there to reverse its electoral losses.
Rahul Gandhi had quit the post after the party’s second successive massive defeat in the 2019 elections and in his resignation, sought that someone from outside the Gandhi family should be appointed as party chief but the CWC appointed Sonia Gandhi as interim President. However, soon a section of leaders, the G-23, wrote a letter for sweeping reforms in the party and election from the block to the CWC level.
However when Sonia Gandhi called some of the members of the dissident group for discussions, they said that there was no question on the leadership but fixing responsibility on those responsible for party’s defeat in the recent spell of Assembly elections.
Party leader and former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh had on Monday asserted that the Chintan Shivir is not a destination of the Congress, but a milestone.
He said the Shivir is being held not to draft a manifesto, but to prepare an action plan to revive and strengthen the Congress so that it can deal with the present-day political and organisational challenges.
The heads of various departments of Congress, office bearers, former Union ministers and MPs would all participate in the Chintan Shivir. A total of 422 members will be present in the Shivir, of which 30-35 per cent will be youth and 21 per cent women.