Acknowledging that the Congress' connection with people has been 'broken', Rahul Gandhi on Sunday urged party leaders to shift their focus from internal matters to re-establishing the connect through concerted outreach efforts.
Gandhi also hailed as 'an important idea' the party's decisions to give more representation to the youth and empower them, and added that there should be a 'healthy mix of youngsters and seniors'.
In his remarks at the concluding session of the three-day 'Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir' in Udaipur, Gandhi said, "The Congress' connection with the people has been broken, we will have to accept that, we will have to re-establish that connection. The people know that only the Congress can take the country forward. This is our responsibility."
He asserted that it is the party's responsibility to fight and stand with the people, and there 'were no short-cuts' to re-establishing the connect with them.
"It is a complaint. Our entire discussion, all talks are about our internal matters...who is getting which post. Our focus is internal. In today's time this internal focus will not work, our focus should be external," the former Congress chief said, adding that the party will have to turn its attention to the people and go to them.
"Without thinking anything, be it our senior leaders, junior leaders or workers, we should go and sit with the people," he said.
He urged party leaders to understand the problems of the people and re-establish the connect the party used to have with the people.
Gandhi said as part of efforts to re-establish the connect with the people, the Congress party has decided that in October, the whole party will go to the people by taking out a 'yatra' which would strengthen the bond with the public.
"This is the only way for us and there are no short-cuts to this. Anyone who thinks that it can be done through short-cuts it is not possible as it can only be achieved through sweat and hard work," Gandhi said.
He also said the Congress should 'ensure the idea that one person per family should get a ticket'.
"I know (AICC general secretary in charge of organisation K C) Venugopal has made a caveat to that, but I do think that it is very important that we limit the number of family members that are involved in our organisation. Let them work, let them develop and then let them join the organisation. We must not have a situation where 5 or 6 or 7 members of a family are in the organisation," he said.
After three days of deliberations, the Congress on Sunday adopted a 'Nav Sankalp' -- a road map for wide-ranging reforms in the party organisation to make it battle-ready for the next round of assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
The party has adopted the 'one-family, one ticket' formula with the rider that another family member seeking to contest elections should have worked in the party organisation for at least five years.
The Congress leader also called for a massive reform of the party's communication strategy to reach out to the youth in a better way.
"The 21st century is about communication. And that is one area where our opponents outdo us... They have much more money and are better in communication. So, we must think about communication...completely reform our systems and communicate with the people of India, with the youngsters in a new way," he said.
Hailing the party's steps for the youth, Gandhi said, "I think the idea that a certain number of positions should be for young people is an important idea. I am not saying there should be no older people. I am saying that when it comes to District Congress Committees, Block Congress Committees, and the leadership, we should have a healthy mix of youngsters and seniors. And I think the time has come that where we aggressively do this."
Asserting that the whole party is like a family, the former Congress chief said he is part of it and his fight is with the ideology of the BJP-RSS which he alleged was dangerous for the country.
"The hatred that they have spread, the violence that they spread, I fight that. This is the fight of my life. I am not willing to believe that in our beloved country such hatred and anger can spread," he said.
Lauding the frank discussions at the conclave, Gandhi said which other political party would allow this kind of a discussion where the party leadership is bluntly told what the Congress party feels.
Certainly, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh would never allow such a thing, he said.
The Congress has always provided a platform where people can hold deliberations without any fear or worry, he said.
Asserting that India is a Union of States, Gandhi said it is critical for the union in this country that the states and the people are allowed to have a conversation, because the only alternative to a 'conversation between the people of India is violence between the people of India'.
"The instruments of this conversation, the mechanism of this conversation are the institutions that the Congress party, that your great leaders Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, (Vallabhbhai) Patel, (Abul Kalam) Azad Ji, (B R) Ambedkar Ji have helped us create.
"These institutions do not belong to any one individual. They do not belong to a political party, they belong to the Union of India, they belong to every single person in this union and today we are seeing is the systematic destruction of the institutions that help India, help the states of India speak to each other," he said.
The day this country's institutions stop working, this country stops speaking to itself, 'we will all be in very serious trouble', Gandhi said.
He said there is fear that the country's demographic dividend will turn into a demographic disaster and alleged that the BJP government was responsible for it.