All India Congress Committee General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry has emerged as the new pointsman in the organisation. While he is heading the team of Lok Sabha observers who have been appointed to report on the state of preparedness of the party for the LS polls, he himself is travelling to various states to get a first hand account of how prepared the Pradesh Congress Committee is to contest the coming election.
Mistry visited Jaipur and returned to Delhi just the day before Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi convened a meeting of Congress Legislative Party leaders and PCC presidents of the party on February 15.
He met Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the PCC president and district presidents and discussed with them the state of the party and how ready the PCC is to contest elections.
District presidents were called to Jaipur as the party wanted feedback at the grass root level on whether the party was in a position to win and if so how many seats.
The district presidents are learnt to have said that while the PCC president is ineffective, the chief minister and the government have become unpopular, and while the Congress was set to lose the assembly elections, this would seriously impact the party’s Lok Sabha tally also.
The district presidents are said to have made it clear to Mistry that they were in the running for bagging assembly seats in the coming elections and they would resign from the party if this was not done.
This is in the context of the Chintan Shivir where it was discussed that AICC office bearers, PCC presidents, district and block level presidents would not contest elections. There was a huge reaction to this and it was not made a part of the Jaipur Declaration. So far, it is unclear whether this is still on the party’s radar, or has been dropped.
Sources say that in his report given to Rahul, he has said a lot of hard work needs to be done, that there has to be better co-ordination and that a number of weaknesses need to be overcome.
Mistry also visited Haryana a few days ago where the same exercise was conducted. A large number of zila presidents came to the meeting and wanted to speak to Mistry alone. PCC President Phul Chand Mulana was asked to leave the room. They bluntly told him that there has been virtually no PCC president for the last 2 years and that no one listens to the party or the organisation.
When Mistry asked them whether the party could win in Haryana he was told in clear terms, “When there is no organisation in the state, how can we win?” Mistry was told that as far as the government is concerned, no one listens to what the common party worker wants.
It is learnt that Mistry is expected to travel to other states also and interact with the PCCs to gauge how ready the party is to face elections and how many seats it can expect to win in the Lok Sabha.
As far as Rajasthan is concerned, AICC General Secretary Mukul Wasnik who has been in charge of the state for the last 8 years has been virtually sidelined and is unlikely to be in-charge of Rajasthan after the next reshuffle. There have been too many complaints against him say senior party leaders.
What is interesting about Mistry is that he is in the good books of Rahul who regards him as an non-governmental organisation-type swinging a jhola as he walks, even as he has good relations with senior leader Ahmed Patel.
Mistry is also close to Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure Sam Pitroda as they both hail from the same caste, and while Pitroda was close to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi he is now quite close to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.