Congress wakes up from slumber, asks cadre to work

June 1st, 2008 - 9:49 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) The Congress party that leads India’s ruling coalition but has recently suffered a series of electoral debacles Saturday admitted that the organisation has failed to understand ground realities and asked its members to work as a “unified, cohesive and motivated” team ahead of the upcoming polls. A meeting of the party’s apex decision making body, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), authorised party president Sonia Gandhi to constitute a committee to suggest “ways and means to revitalise the party”.

In a resolution passed at the three-and-a-half-hour long CWC meeting, the Congress claimed that it has the “capacity to draw correct lessons from temporary electoral defeats and re-energise itself to meet emerging challenges”.

The Congress has suffered defeats in the state assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and most recently in Karnataka.

After Saturday’s meeting, the CWC admitted: “People’s expectations from political parties, particularly from the Congress, have increased. It is clear that the election campaigns alone are not enough to win.

“To convert massive mobilization of the campaigns into votes, there has to be a sustained year-round contact with the people to understand their hopes and aspirations and address their daily concerns.

“This can only be done through an organisation which is strong and vibrant at the grassroots and which has clearly drawn the lines of responsibilities and accountability.”

The ruling party said it has to be “in contact” with all its members at every level, indicating a realisation among its leadership that the organisation had failed to feel the pulse of the voters.

According to Janardhan Dwivedi, Congress general secretary, Gandhi initiated the discussions. “With the interventions from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and (External Affairs Minister) Pranab Mukherjee, the CWC, which was also attended by the permanent invitees, has passed the resolution.”

Congress sources said the prime minister complained that the party organisation had failed to “propagate” the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s achievements in the last four years.

“All Congress men and women must actively propagate the initiatives and accomplishments of the UPA government amongst the people of our country,” the resolution said.

The party reiterated its commitment to fight “communal, divisive and sectarian forces”. It also said the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) emergence in the electoral scenario was “detrimental to the very fabric of our society”.

“The CWC urges all Congress men and women to work as a unified, cohesive and motivated team so that we are successful in the campaigns that lie ahead.”

Party leaders said the committee, which will be selected by Gandhi in a few days, will give a strategy for the party to face the upcoming assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi. The committee is expected to submit its report within 15 days of its formation.

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