Congress’ young MPs set for bigger role

August 29th, 2011 - 8:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Anna Hazare New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) Having played a role in changing the government’s course in dealing with the Anna Hazare fast, young MPs of the Congress are set to play a bigger part in articulating the party’s viewpoint on issues being taken up by civil society, including the Lokpal bill and electoral reforms, party sources said.

“The young MPs are likely to be more visible on television debates… They were forthright in conveying their viewpoint on the Hazare agitation which contributed to the decisions taken by the government to find a solution to the issue,” a party leader told IANS.

Party sources said there has been some stock-taking in the party over the way Hazare’s agitation was handled, with the government virtually swinging from one extreme to the other. They said a more detailed introspection would be done after the return of party president Sonia Gandhi from the US, where she is recovering after surgery.

The sources also pointed to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari extending support to the anti-corruption agitations of Hazare and said the movement on Lokpal bill had shades of anti-Congressism.

They said the Congress had lost some ground among the middle classes over the way the Hazare agitation was handled in the initial days and the party’s young leaders would help retrieve support among the youth who formed a large chunk of Hazare campaign.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid had admitted in a TV interview that the government may have made “errors of judgement” in handling Hazare’s fast.

Congress sources said Hazare’s agitation may also have impacted Congress prospects in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh where Rahul Gandhi is leading the party’s efforts to regain power.

They said the young MPs would be able to connect better with the youth and their presence in public debates will signal their growing importance in the party.

“We need to effectively convey that government is serious about combating corruption and is pursuing a multi-pronged approach,” a party leader said.

The young MPs - Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot, Ashok Tanwar, Meenakshi Natrajan, Jitin Prasada, R.P.N. Singh, Sandeep Dikshit and Pradip Jain - had led the Congress attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) last week after the Lok Sabha could not take up discussion on the Lokpal bill.

Rahul Gandhi also spelled out his stance in the Lokpal debate by suggesting that the proposed anti-corruption ombudsman should be fortified by making the institution a constitutional body. Thereafter, another young MP, Jyotiraditya Scindia, spiritedly spoke in Gandhi’s support.

Young MPs including Dikshit and Madhu Goud Yaskhi were among the first in the party to publicly express reservations over Hazare’s arrest Aug 16 and his being sent to Tihar jail. Dikshit was later involved by the government in negotiations with Team Hazare.

Several other young MPs had also conveyed their support for a strong Lokpal bill.

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