Cong sets up team for chintan shivir

A five-member team consisting of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee will decide the date and venue for the proposed chintan shivir of the Congress party. This was decided at a meeting of the AICC general secretaries and senior leaders of the party called by the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi here on Saturday.
The other members of the team are defence minister A.K. Antony, Union home minster P. Chidambaram, AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi and environment minister Jairam Ramesh, party sources said, adding that it will also decide a theme of the “chintan shivir”.
The Congress party had earlier held a brain-stroming session at Panchmarhi in Madhya Pradesh in September 1998 and a second such session was held in Shimla in July 2003. The two “shivirs” were held at a time when the Congress was in the Oppositon and was in a dilemma whether to go it alone or prefer a coalition politics to check the BJP and regional parties formed on the anti-Congress ideology.
This will be a third such exercise to be held under the chairmanship of Mrs Gandhi.
Mrs Gandhi had announced holding of a Vichar Manthan Shivir at the 83rd Congress plenary session held at Burari (Delhi) in December last. She had said “in the coming months, we will hold a similar conclave. This will give us an opportunity to refresh our perspectives on crucial natioinal issues and also review the functioning of our organisation. It will be an occassion to hear the voices of our colleagues, particulalry younger ones, to bring new energy to our thinking.”
She had also stressed on the need to “create a professional party thinktank to be run on institutional lines.”
The proposed “chintan shivir” could be held either in Rajasthan or in south or wester states, sources said.
It is being held at a time when the Congress is under attack on the corruption charges by the Opposition and deadlock in parliament on the issue of constituting a JPC on the 2G issue.

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