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Congress brainstorming session in Jaipur from Jan 18-20

Source: PTI
December 01, 2012 23:54 IST
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The brainstorming session (chintan shivir) of the Congress will be held in Jaipur from January 18 to 20 to discuss political and economic situations and seek new ideas ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections.

Of the three-day event, two days will be devoted to brainstorming session of 300-odd senior leaders and will culminate into a day-long All India Congress Committee meeting on the last day, AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi the media in New Delhi on Saturday.

The AICC meeting will endorse the conclusions arrived at during the brainstorming exercise, the third such 'shivir' since Sonia Gandhi became the Congress president in 1998. The earlier two brainstorming sessions were held at Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.

The first 'shivir' was held at Pachmarhi in 1998 soon after Gandhi took over reins of the organisation. The second 'shivir' held at Shimla in 2003 led to the Congress coming to power at the Centre via the coalition route in May 2004.

The exercise in Jaipur will be crucial for the party and is expected to be the first such venture after a proposed reshuffle of the AICC secretariat when Rahul Gandhi is set to assume a larger role in the party.

The idea of the 'chintan shivir' was mooted by Sonia Gandhi in the party's plenary in New Delhi in December, 2010 but it could not materialise as both the government and the party had battled one crisis after another since then.

The issue of alliances is expected to figure prominently at the Jaipur brainstorming session as it had done in Pachmarhi and Shimla. At Pachmarhi, the Congress had held that coalition is a transient phase while that in Shimla it had called for unity of secular forces that led to the formation of the United Progressive Alliance in 2004 ousting the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance from power. It will be held after the assembly election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh come out and preparations for the assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi would have commenced.

The 'shivir' will review the political and economic situation as well discuss schemes implemented by the UPA government in rural and urban areas, Dwivedi said.

The Congress has a set up an election coordination committee headed by Rahul Gandhi with three sub-groups one of which is exclusively devoted to the issue of alliances.

The 'shivir' is part of a series of programmes by the Congress in recent months to galvanize the party for the Lok Sabha elections.

On November 9, a day-long strategy session named the "dialogue meeting" was held at nearby Surajkund in Congress-ruled Haryana, days after the party organised a national rally in New Delhi on November 4 to counter the

opposition attack on Foreign Direct Investment in retail issue.

The chintan shivir will be a bigger exercise than the 'dialogue meeting' and have representation from states including chief ministers, PCC presidents and CLP leaders.

After securing more than 200 seats in 2009 Lok Sabha elections and improving its tally substantially, the Congress has failed to make a mark in some key assembly elections including in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu.

The coming 'chintan shivir' could take a fresh look at the issue of alliances as there is a view in the party that tie-ups cannot be wished away in present circumstances.

Concerned over the adverse political fall-out of the economic reforms measures and the battering on account of scams, the Congress president had asked the party and the government at the dialogue meeting to pull their socks up to get a renewed mandate in the next Lok Sabha elections.

In the dialogue meeting, the government was given a clear message by its chief that it is the party that brings it to power and those in the government should understand the difficulties of the organisation.

"With a year and half left for the Lok Sabha elections, both the party and government will have to work cohesively together to ensure that we secure a renewed mandate," she had said.

At Burari plenary session while announcing the plan to hold the 'chintan shivir', she had said it will give "an opportunity to refresh our perspectives on crucial national issues and also review the functioning of our organisation. "It will be an occasion to hear the voices of our colleagues, particularly the younger ones, to bring new energy to our thinking."

"The views expressed in two days during the 'chintan shivir' will be placed in the AICC meeting where they are expected to be endorsed," Dwivedi said.
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