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Congress promises structural changes but does not outline roadmap


New Delhi, May 20 :

The Congress Monday promised a thorough organisational revamp and structural changes as measures to win back confidence of people after the party’s worst defeat in a Lok Sabha election but did not spell out the way it will be accomplished.

Both the resolution adopted at the Congress Working Committee meeting here and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s speech gave the party’s disconnect with the voters as reasons that led to the party just winning 44 of 543 Lok Sabha seats.

Party sources said that there could be a reshuffle of All India Congress Committee office-bearers in the coming weeks. The party has little time for recovery as it has to face assembly elections later this year in Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jammu and Kashmir and possibly Delhi.

CongressWhile an admission of failures is likely to go down well with the workers, who wanted the leadership to do some plain-speaking, there is still no clarity about the kind of change that will be brought about in structures of the party, its scale and its timeline.

Party vice president Rahul Gandhi has been advocating direct elections to fill various posts and opening up the organisation and the resolution indicated the party could go in that direction as it talked about creating “opportunities and structures that will pave the way of a thorough revamp of the organisation at all levels”.

Union minister Kamal Nath has suggested that CWC members should also be elected and not nominated by the Congress president.

However, a section of the party is not satisfied with the outcome of Rahul Gandhi’s moves to usher in internal democracy in Youth Congress saying that it had brought in a crop of leaders who were not adept in agitational politics.

While the resolution and Sonia Gandhi’s speech talked about the party having failed to read the profound changes that had taken place in the country during the ten years of UPA government, there was no indication from the party how these will be addressed in the coming days.

Sonia Gandhi said party should ponder why its support base has eroded and if the party was in tune with the aspirations of the youth and keeping pace with the change.

She also said the party needed “clear-headed and fresh thinking that will help us correct our shortcomings” but did not elaborate.

The CWC meeting did not discuss any individual leaders according to Congress general secretary Janradan Dwivedi though there has been a feeling among Congress workers that Rahul Gandhi had not been properly advised by key member in his team. There is also palpable discontent among workers against many Congress ministers for “not paying them due regard” while in office.

Most of the ministers lost the election.

There was also expectation among party workers of general secretaries being held accountable for the party’s poor performance in across states. The Congress could not reach double digit mark in any state and failed to open its account in many.

Sources said that general secretaries offered to be held accountable at the meeting but the common refrain at the meeting was for “collective responsibility”.

Rahul Gandhi led the party campaign that was heavily built around the UPA regime’s achievements though there was a sense of dejection among voters on issues of price rise and corruption – which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, speaking at the meeting, termed the ones which the government failed to communicate with the people.

Sources said that most members “harped upon” lack of proper communication during the last few years.