Leaders for end to nominations

Union minister Salman Khurshid and senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyyar interact with the media after a session

Union minister Salman Khurshid and senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyyar interact with the media after a session

The Congress is ready for the UPA 3 if one goes by the spirit of discussions at its chintan shivir. The developments in the BJP on its leadership issue is making the Congress optimistic that it can retain power at the Centre this time as well. The brain-storming session saw several suggestions including coining a catchy slogan like “Congress ka haath, yuva ke saath”, discredit smaller parties to gain space, reject nomination culture and strengthening bloc units.
“The alliances should be state specific and based on local factors. If the Congress cannot form a government on its own, then the regional parties too cannot come to power on their own. This is the reality,” a Congress chief minister, who took part in the two-day session, viewed.
He further said let the country pay the political price of fractured verdicts. “...But then we have to find a way out in such situations,” he added.
The Congress is open to the idea of pre-poll and post-poll alliances after realising that it cannot fight with the regional players and the BJP simultaneously in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Asked whether Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is welcomed in the party, a former Union minister said let him come out of the NDA. His politics has been anti-Congressim, he pointed out. A Tamil Nadu Congress leader said that the party can be revived only if it discredits smaller parties and thus gain political space. The Congress has been out of power there since 1967. A Union minister from Uttar Pradesh viewed that creation of smaller states always help the Congress politically.
The discussions on three groups — emerging political challenges, organisational strengths and socio-economic challenges — remained interesting. These groups were headed by Mr A.K. Antony, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mr Digvijay Singh. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi took keen interests in the discussions.
The delegates were said to have complained that Central leaders, especially Union ministers, ignored the workers in the Opposition-ruled states. “They should have been accommodated in power positions, nominated to various corporations, boards, they felt. A delegate said he had suggested inner party elections like the Youth Congress and the NSUI saying that the nomination culture affected the party’s growth.

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