New peak-caps, jackets for Seva Dal volunteers

August 5th, 2008 - 8:12 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) Congress Seva Dal volunteers will no more don white Gandhi caps while helping out at disaster-hit sites, but white cricket caps and jackets - thanks to an image makeover. The Seva Dal workers will, however, retain their identity in the same old white shirt-trouser and the Gandhi cap as their uniform code for formal functions. The new white peak-cap and jacket will be worn when they are out on “ground work”, especially while helping victims at disaster sites.

Office bearers of the Seva Dal, the volunteer wing of the ruling Congress, say the new attire would appeal more to youngsters.

“The decision has been taken in order to merge youth power with us. The message we spread will be the same. The newly-designed cap and jacket are for special tasks - during social and ground work,” Mahendra Joshi, chief organiser of Seva Dal, told IANS.

Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, who addressed the national executive meeting of the Seva Dal here during which members were attired in the new cap and jacket, said: “The Seva Dal workers will be wearing this special cap and jacket when they are out at disaster sites.”

The white cap has the monogram of the Seva Dal while the white jacket has the name of the organisation on the back.

The idea of the change was mooted by Joshi and other organisers. “We designed it and submitted it before Ashok Gehlot (party general secretary in charge of the organisation) and Mehboob Ali Kaiser (secretary). It was later approved by the Congress president (Sonia Gandhi),” Joshi said.

Around 140 members of the Seva Dal national executive attended the meeting held at the Congress headquarters here.

According to Joshi, volunteers of the 85-year-old organisation now want to “counter the rumour-mongering” done by opponents of the ruling party.

Party sources said the workers have been asked to be more active, efficient and service-minded at disaster sites. The organisation has 700,000 trainees at the national level apart from volunteers at the state, district and block level.

Although some organisers felt the change in attire was part of their attempt to seek innovative ways to catch the imagination of youngsters - like the way Gandhism was treated in Raj Kumar Hirani’s “Lage Raho Munnabhai” - as “Gandhigiri” - making it more popular, there were some who did not appreciate the change.

“How can you change the Gandhi cap from the uniform when workers are in the field. You cannot get into the minds of the youth only by changing the attire. Gandhiji’s principles remain the same,” Anirudhan, a party worker, said.

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