M A I N   N E W S

CWC to set up panel to revive party
Anita Katyal
Our Political Correspondent

New Delhi, May 31
Admitting that the party had suffered a series of electoral reverses in the recent past because its organisation at the ground level has become virtually defunct, a worried Congress today decided to set up a small committee to suggest measures for strengthening the party.

Following up on senior leader Arjun Singh’s suggestion made during the course of the three-hour deliberations of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) today, party president Sonia Gandhi said she would shortly constitute such a group which will be asked to submit its report within two weeks.

Speakers analysed the reasons for the party’s defeats, especially Karnataka, which included poor selection of candidates, the widening gap between the cadres and the electorate and the increasing dependence on the AICC for even minor decisions.

That the Congress is worried about its poor electoral performance can be guaged from the fact that the CWC thought it necessary to adopt a special resolution expressing concern over its dipping popularity and resolved to gear up the organisation for the challenges ahead. In this context, the resolution also asked all party members to propogate the UPA government’s achievements among the people.

In a candid confession, the resolution admitted that election campaigns are not enough to win and that there has to be sustained year-round contact with the people to convert the mobilisation into votes. “This can only be done through an organisation which is strong and vibrant at the grassroots and which has clearly drawn lines of responsibility and accountability,” the resolution said.

The resolution actually reflected the tone and tenor of today’s deliberations which focussed primarily on the party’s recent electoral reverses, especially Karnataka although Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dwelt at length on the worrying issue of price rise, especially the global oil crisis, and gave details of the steps being taken to contain inflation. Although no speaker stated that inflation was a reason for the party’s debacle in Karnataka, human resource development minister Arjun Singh hit a discordant note, saying that inflation is a cause of concern and could not be wished away.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee was brutally frank when he pointed out that the party organisation at the grass-roots level had virtually become defunct, a view which was endorsed by several other speakers. Veteran leader C.K. Jaffer Sharief distributed a two-page note in which he pointed out that elected representatives had lost touch with the people, adding that the Congress base built by Devraj Urs in Karnataka had gradually disintegrated.



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