Congress's 'Chintan Shivir' conclave begins: Details here
The three-day brainstorming session, or "Chintan Shivir," of the Congress began in Udaipur, Rajasthan, on Friday. More than 400 delegates are expected to attend the "Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir" to debate subject-specific concerns. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to address a gathering of workers on Friday evening. Party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are already in Udaipur for the event.
Why does this story matter?
- After the Congress's debacle in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi had quit the post of the party president and the Congress Working Committee (CWC) had appointed Sonia Gandhi as interim president.
- Notably, Rahul had sought someone from outside the Gandhi family to be appointed as the chief.
- A G-21 dissident group in Congress had asked for sweeping reforms in the party.
What are the focus areas?
According to India Today, the conclave would focus on three primary areas: time-bound reform of the Congress party, preventing divisiveness, and preparing for approaching elections. While deliberations will be held for two days, a proclamation will be documented on the third day. A draft of recommendations is expected to be discussed during the CWC meeting later.
Agenda to revive and strengthen the party
The group led by party president Sonia Gandhi will deliberate on the plan to strengthen the party and make structural changes, as per reports. It will come up with the Udaipur declaration to be implemented ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Congress insiders told India Today that the "Chintan Shivir" will also try to resolve ideological, electoral, and managerial challenges.
'Deliberations will be held with a spirit of new Sankalp'
This year's conclave is significant unlike other events by the Congress. The party will have to give out a new message from this Shivir to the people of the country, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was quoted by PTI as saying. "The party will come up with a new 'Sankalp' from this conclave and then reach out to the people," Gehlot said.
Discussion of six crucial papers
Sonia had previously formed six committees, each with nine members, to draft papers on various problems. These papers are expected to be discussed in depth during the event. The main focus areas of these committees were politics, economy, agriculture, laborers, underprivileged, minorities and women, restructuring of the organization, and the upliftment of youth, especially in the education and employment sector.
#3: Party may introduce 'One Family, One Ticket' norm
Congress may announce the "one family, one ticket" formula after the key conclave. A group within the party had previously recommended giving only one ticket per family so that big leaders do not corner party tickets and deny a place to the genuine hard workers.
Deliberation on challenges faced by the country
The conclave, according to the Congress leader Randeep Surjewala, would discuss issues such as the economic crisis, rising wealth disparity, rising prices of key commodities, and the alleged take over of the farming sector by corporations. China's "attack" on India's territorial integrity, the assault on Dalits, minorities' rights, and divisive Hindu-Muslim discourse will also be debated.
Some participants planning to rake up leadership issues
According to party insiders, the subject of leadership in Congress will not be considered during the Udaipur summit. Several politicians, however, are expected to raise the call for Rahul to take over the party leadership, according to sources. Meanwhile, a CWC member claimed that the situation is "make-or-break." He also stated that organizational changes will be thoroughly addressed.
Self-criticism important, but not to degrade party: Sonia
Sonia remarked at a CWC meeting earlier on Monday that Congress needs self-criticism, but not in a way that degrades the party's image and brings a gloomy atmosphere. "Self-criticism is of course needed in our party forums. But this should not be done in a manner that self-confidence and morale are eroded and an atmosphere of gloom and doom becomes all-pervasive," she had said.