Congress’s Chintan Shivir Begins, But Leadership Question Still Remains
Congress party is going into a huddle at the three-day Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir in Udaipur. The Chintan Shivir is the fourth such conglomeration held by Congress since 1998. The last Shivir happened in 2013, wherein Rahul Gandhi was anointed as the Vice President.
The Shivir is happening at a time when the party lost badly in Punjab where it was the incumbent. It failed to form a government in the other four states, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Manipur, that went to the polls.
Points of Discussion: During the Shivir, it hopes to set a revival path for its dwindling electoral presence.
The party spokesperson, Ajay Maken, in a press conference said that there is near unanimity on the ‘One Family, One Ticket’ rule. However, the rule is not absolute. For anyone else from the same family to seek a party ticket, they must work within the organisation for at least five years.
With this rider, Congress has ensured tickets for Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.
To give a ‘young look’ to the party, an age limit might be put on those holding organisational posts at all levels and contesting elections.
A term limit for Rajya Sabha members is also open for discussion.
The party is also forming committees to conduct regular surveys, gather feedback and ascertain people’s expectations from the party.
Declining Fortunes of Congress: Post-2019 general elections, Congress has lost three States to BJP, bringing its tally down to two.
It is fast surrendering its vote bank to AAP, a 10-year old party that is projecting itself as a national alternative.
Congress-ruled Delhi for 15 years before it relinquished its vote base to AAP.
In Punjab, too, AAP has replaced Congress. The former is now eyeing Gujarat to emerge as a direct challenger to the ruling BJP, replacing Congress in the opposition.
Earlier Congress would be seen as a natural leader in bringing together an anti-BJP alliance. However, not anymore. It is now being seen as a burden than a leading ally.
Bottom line: Congress’s Chintan Shivir is completely mute on the point of leadership, yet. Despite many attempts by the party to reinvent Rahul Gandhi in people’s eyes, they have not been able to salvage its electoral fortunes. Yet, the issue of leadership is not open for deliberation. So, it is left to be seen how much of the structural tinkering could lead to Congress’s revival.
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