As the All India Congress Committee Plenary session started in New Delhi, the party rank and file hoped that the Congress high command would be able to clear up the mess surrounding the party in the wake of the various scams surrounding it.
All eyes will be on Rahul Gandhi's speech, which is scheduled for 1530 hrs in which the party workers hoped that he would clarify the remarks made on Hindu terrorism, which came to light in recently released cables by WikiLeaks.
Speaking to a cross section of the party workers from all states who have gathered in Delhi, the mood is has that of optimism. The workers felt that the party will come out stronger after this plenary. Yes there was a bit of crisis within the party and many were demoralised after the party came under the scanner recently for various scams. However this has not deterred the party from functioning and the forthcoming elections at West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala will prove that the party is still strong.
Congress leader from Kerala, S Basheer said that there has been no impact of Rahul Gandhi's remarks in his state, "Basically the people are fed up with the Left in Kerala and want to boot it out of power." Basheer says that they will invite Rahul Gandhi for the Youth Congress elections and his charisma will help shape the party further.
A leader from Andhra Pradesh was of the view that the Jaganmohan Reddy fiasco had not affected the party in the least.
"Leaving the Congress will prove fatal for him and not the party," said the leader. Speaking about the scams, the party workers said that the Congress would come clean. For the AP workers it was not the scams or Jagan, but the forthcoming Krishna commission report on Telangana which is critical. They were hopeful that some road map would be laid during
the plenary to face this issue, which is round the corner.
The buzz amid leaders and workers from Tamil Nadu is all about A Raja. Most of the Congress workers from Tamil Nadu that we interacted with spoke only about the 2G scam and very little about the plenary and the Ccongress. Leaders at the lower levels are all for parting ways with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, since they feel that it is the party which installed the 'taint' on the Congress. On the other hand, most of them are weary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief J Jayalalithaa. They are hoping that the party high command will decide to go it alone during the forthcoming election.
In Karnataka, the leaders feel that the leadership issue needs to be sorted out. They need the high command to take a proper decision on this matter and feel that the local body polls can be won only if a strong leader is in place.
The mood among the workers from Bihar was however low. On being probed about the failure of 'Rahul's charisma' in the recently concluded polls, they said that it is harsh to crucify the young. "He is young and needs time. He is the future and these small set backs cannot be a reason to write him off. "
Image: Congress Party memebers at the plenary session being held in Delhi.
Photograph: Rajesh Karkera