The ongoing three-day ‘Chintan Shivar’ brainstorming session of the Congress here has the agenda for organisational reforms which will be put up, discussed and later implemented.
But the big question is whether the party will achieve this in a time-bound manner or will it go on as before.
One of the proposals that could be a game changer for the party is that half the office bearers will be less than 50 years of age and each office bearer will get a maximum five years tenure then a three year cooling off period before a new assignment. But the real question will be of the Gandhis: Will their tenure in the party be fixed as the chorus and clamour for Rahul Gandhi grows.
Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken said, “Our opponents have been faster in adopting new things, so now onwards our party will see the change after the Shivir.”
This means the ability to change itself with the times. The BJP has been changing its style and using the latest technology in elections with better management and a single command centre which has put the party far ahead of the Congress.
Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have participated in some of discussions and they have taken a view on it. It has been on the table that agitations, mass movement and an alternative narrative can help the party to take on the BJP. Party president Sonia Gandhi has repeated to the party leaders that, “it is time to pay back”. This means, a leader said, that take the fight to the streets and go out to the people from your comfort zone.
Sonia Gandhi in her inaugural address said that the Chintan Shivir will give an opportunity to discuss the numerous challenges that the country is facing as a result of the policies of the BJP, the RSS and its affiliates.
“So it is both a chintan about national issues and a meaningful atma-chintan about our party organisation.” This means self assessment and introspection, will the Congress return to a path of recovery or walk the talk will be the big takeaway from the chintan session.
The other proposal which the party is deliberating upon is that it will set up an assessment wing comprising of leaders which will reward or remove anyone as per their performance. This was one of the demands of the dissident group which had been saying that nobody is being held responsible for the poll losses.
The other proposal is to scrap the NSUI and Youth Congress election which is a project of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
The party has held deliberations that any office bearer cannot hold a post for more than five years and the person has to step down after that. There will be a cooling off period of three years before a new assignment is given.
The party is going to focus on in-house surveys which will enable them to gauge the mood of the people. For this it will set up a public insight wing and it will do day to day surveys to get fresh feedback about the issues and parties.
Taking a cue from the BJP’s successful “panna pramukh” model, the party will strengthen the lower level of the organizational setup and will make mandal committees for every 20 booths. Each block will be having five to ten mandal committees.
To attract the youth the ‘one family one ticket’ demand will be implemented. Although this is very tricky but it has given some window to the relatives of big politicians that it can consider that only those who have worked for five years in the party will be given priority.
However, the Congress will not discuss the issue of party presidentship as the process is on for the elections. The Congress’ three-day Chintan Shivir (brainstorming session) ends on Sunday when the Congress Working Committee resolution will be adopted to throw light on the changes which the party will consider.