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Rahul takes charge at AICC meet, pulls up party leaders

By Renu Mittal
September 10, 2011 23:53 IST
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Rahul Gandhi is learnt to have taken All India Congress Committee general secretaries and state in-charges to task for failing to implement the Sonia Gandhi-driven Burari agenda on corruption.

He was also unhappy about their failure to spread awareness about the Centre's flagship programmes in states ruled by Bharatiya Janata Party and to implement the Congress president's five-point action programme, outlined in her speech at the party plenary in Burari, which was later adopted as a resolution.

In a meeting held on Saturday evening at the Congress headquarter, which had been called to signal that the party president is back in the saddle, Rahul Gandhi is learnt to have taken centre-stage. He apparently expressed his annoyance at the manner in which the Congress president's directives have been ignored on key issues like fighting corruption. 

After Sonia Gandhi's Burari speech in December, more cases of corruption have come to the fore and virtually rocked the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. A number of ministers and members of Parliament have ended up in jail while the movement led by Anna Hazare has hit the government hard on the issue of corruption.

While Hazare's name was not mentioned, Gandhi did point out that the Congress must have a two-year roadmap in BJP-ruled states on how to tackle the main opposition party. He has identified 16 flagship programmes of the UPA which should be popularised in the states and the people should be made aware that they are the Centre's policies and progarmmes.

Gandhi wanted the Union ministers to regularly visit the states, particularly those ruled by the Opposition, and spread the word.

These are exactly the same issues which Sonia Gandhi has been advocating in her speeches, but it has had little or no impact on Congress leaders and ministers, who continue to be busy with their own preoccupations. 

General secretaries and state in-charges have been asked to submit detailed reports of the major activities in their states during the absence of Sonia Gandhi. They also have to submit reports on how far the Burari resolution has been implemented in the various states by the general secretaries.

Congress has to face five assembly elections early next year, followed by a few more state elections at the end of the year, over a dozen state assembly polls in 2013 and finally the general elections in 2014. 

Party leaders say that Sonia Gandhi was the first to seriously flag the issue of corruption at Burari, but there was no response to it either within the party or the government. It was Anna Hazare who hijacked the entire issue and made it into his own agenda, making it a virtual referendum against the government.

The question being asked is how and why this was allowed to happen, with the party being forced on the back-foot in the matter.

A senior leader said that in the absence of Sonia Gandhi, no one was left in any doubt that Rahul was the boss, even though he has not been given any official designation to that effect.

Incidentally, AICC treasurer Motilal Vora, who is also in charge of the administration of committee, was waiting at the gate which connects 24 Akbar Road to 10 Janpath to receive Rahul Gandhi and then escort him to the meeting, just as he does when the Congress president is on her way to the meet.

After the meeting was over and Rahul left, again escorted by Motilal Vora, senior leaders went into a huddle in their respective rooms and the mood was reportedly tense. 

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