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Rahul Gandhi gets cracking
Saubhadra Chatterji | September 28, 2007 13:15 IST
The newly-appointed Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi [Images] has rolled up his sleeves and got down to work in right earnest. Days after his induction into the All India Congress Committee secretariat, he held a meeting of the newly formed 'Group to Look into Future Challenges' on Thursday.
At the meeting that lasted 90 minutes, Gandhi and his colleagues chalked out specific issues in the social, economic and political arena where the party should work in the coming days. According to Congress sources, issues like price rise and fighting the battle against communalism were identified as priority areas by Gandhi.
Overall, the target set by Gandhi at the very first meeting of the group was how to gain ground in states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, lost to rivals and even friendly political parties.
Gandhi and others, including Jairam Ramesh, also emphasised a mindset change in the party as a priority area. "We will set the agenda and other will have to follow it," Gandhi predicted in the meeting.
Veerappa Moily, chairperson of the media cell, later boasted that "all challenges before the country are up for grabs for the group".
This was also the first organisational meeting attended by Rahul Gandhi after he was appointed as a Congress general secretary on Monday. On Wednesday , he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] along with the entire team of general secretaries to demand the expansion of Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme [It was implemented this morning].
The 13-member group meeting has been dubbed as 'informal in nature' where a host of social, political and economic issues were discussed. A draft of the agenda for the future was prepared, which will be sent to party president Sonia Gandhi [Images]. After her approval, the group will have another meeting and finalise its action plan.
Apart from Gandhi and Moily, the meeting was attended by Jairam Ramesh, Sachin Pilot and others.
Digvijay Singh was the only member who was not present.
There have been innumerable strategy meetings at the Congress headquarters at 24 Akbar Road in the past, but this meeting acquired a new mystique as this is the first time the party has consciously constituted a group to study future challenges that has such a large representation from young leaders.
Congressmen, usually never reluctant to share the accounts of deliberations of closed-door meetings, refused to talk about this meeting on the grounds that only Veerappa Moily was 'authorised' to speak.