Kurukshetra: Along with the party in the Chintan Shivir, the direction and condition of the first family will also be decided.

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Along with the party, the condition and direction of the first family of Congress i.e. Nehru-Gandhi family will also be decided in the three-day Chintan Shivir of Congress starting in Udaipur from Friday. While the six groups constituted by the party leadership will present their reports on all the burning issues of the country and discuss them in detail, the future roles of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi in the Congress leadership will also be decided from this contemplation camp. It is possible that the suggestions for fundamental changes in the structure of the party organization in the camp should also be considered, which were presented by Prashant Kishor in an hour-long marathon meeting with party leaders.

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430 leaders invited

Giving information about the Chintan Shivir, Congress General Secretary and in-charge of the media department, Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the sun of the country’s hopes will rise from Udaipur. Congress has named it as Navsankalp Chintan Shivir. In this camp, 430 leaders of the party have been invited as thinkers from across the country, which were assigned by the Congress leadership to lead six groups focused on topics such as political, social justice-empowerment, economy, farmer and farm labour, youth empowerment After discussing the preliminary report in detail for three days, its extract will be presented in front of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the party will draw a blueprint for the future strategy and further work.

It is interesting that in this camp, where the leaders of the generation considered as Team Rahul have been invited, those old leaders active in the party since the time of Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi have also been remembered, who have been working for the Congress for a long time. Not only are they away from, but have also been questioning the inertia of the leadership and the working style of the party. Among them there are many leaders known as G-23, who raised their voice by writing a letter to Sonia Gandhi. Leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik, Bhupendra Singh Hooda are not only invited to the camp, but some of them have also been made the heads of the groups formed. By doing this, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has tried to give a message of unity and unity in the party.

also called old veterans

Along with this, senior leader Janardan Dwivedi, who played a very important role in the Congress organization from the time of Indira Gandhi to Sonia Gandhi, has also been specially called by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former President Rahul Gandhi in the camp. Known for his candid and candid opinion, Janardan Dwivedi had distanced himself from the functioning of the party organization for the past few years by resigning from the most important post of Congress General Secretary (Organisation). His term in the Rajya Sabha has already ended. But suddenly by calling him to the camp, the leadership has indicated the seriousness of the Chintan Shivir.

All eyes are on this contemplation camp of Congress. Because before this Congress’s Pachmarhi conference and the direction of the party that came out of Shimla camp had given great strength to the Congress. The Congress had officially accepted coalition politics at the central level by abandoning its policy of ‘Ekla Chalo’. Similarly, in the Jaipur session of the Congress in 2013 itself, Rahul Gandhi was made the Vice President of the party and Rahul’s speech was discussed across the country, citing his mother Sonia Gandhi and saying that the mother told him. That power is the cup of poison, which has to be drunk. In the Jaipur session itself, the Congress had coined the controversial phrase of Hindu terrorism, which proved to be its historical mistake and the BJP cashed it in fiercely. Therefore, what strategic and political line does the Congress take for the future in Udaipur Chintan Shivir, what is the Chintan Shivir to counter the challenges posed by the BJP, in which the Congress is constantly on the defensive on the issue of nationalism and Hindutva. It will also be important to see if the narrative turns out.

According to a veteran Congress leader, for the first time, three leaders of the party’s First Family are active at the top level. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Former President Rahul Gandhi and General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi. While Indira Gandhi was active in the party with him during Nehru’s time, she did not have the political status that Rahul and Priyanka currently have. In Indira’s time, Sanjay Gandhi first with her and then Rajiv Gandhi remained in an influential role in the party. No other member of the family became active in the party during the time of Rajiv Gandhi. During the time of Sonia Gandhi, from 2004 to 2019, Rahul Gandhi became the party president while holding various positions. But in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Priyanka Gandhi also joined active politics and took the post of General Secretary. He was entrusted with the responsibility of Uttar Pradesh which continued till the 2022 assembly elections.

Along with this, former Union Minister Suresh Pachauri, who is considered very loyal to the party and family since the time of Rajiv Gandhi, has also been called to the camp. Pachauri has not only held important positions in the party organization from Congress Seva Dal to President of Madhya Pradesh Congress, but in the UPA government, he was the Minister of Personnel Affairs, a very sensitive department and he also played a troubleshooter role in all the confusions between the government and the party. At one time, Suresh Pachauri was also very close to Ahmed Patel, a veteran leader and Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, and Patel used to take his help in all political operations. Suresh Pachauri has been living in Bhopal after leaving Delhi since the 2018 Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections and was almost forgotten in the party organization since then. Inviting Pachauri to the camp, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has indicated to reactivate old loyalists, while in Madhya Pradesh politics, apart from Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh, the opinion of another senior leader will also be heard in the camp.

Question on the charisma of the three faces of the first family

Where three members of the first family were active at the top level, the Congress and its workers felt that this would give strength to the party and the popularity of the Gandhi family would make political charisma. But it didn’t happen. The party not only lost the 2019 Lok Sabha elections badly, but in all the subsequent assembly elections, it could not form the government anywhere on its own. Its performance in Haryana was better than the last election, but could not touch the majority mark. Whereas in Jharkhand the Congress had to resort to the crutches of the JMM and in Tamil Nadu the DMK, and in Maharashtra it had to join hands with the Shiv Sena, with which it was fiercely opposed, after the elections despite an alliance with the NCP. In the rest of the states Assam, Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Congress had to face defeat everywhere. Whereas in Uttar Pradesh, Congress fought the entire election on the strength of Priyanka Gandhi and her charisma. With the slogan ‘Ladki Hoon Lad Sakti Hoon’, Congress tried to create a new political discourse by replacing the politics of communal and caste polarization with gender justice. But the election results pushed the Congress to two seats and a nominal vote percentage, down from seven seats and six per cent of the vote in 2017. In Kerala, the Congress was expected to form the government, but there the party could not even repeat the previous performance, while Rahul Gandhi is the MP from Wayanad in Kerala.

All these election results have also raised questions on the charisma of the three faces of the party’s first family. The issue is whether the leaders in the Chintan Shivir will consider this or by following the Congress tradition, bring Rahul, save the country and not Priyanka, this is the storm, the second is Indira Gandhi by raising slogans like Rahul Gandhi becoming the President again and Priyanka. There will be pressure to activate at the national level. Congress sources say that Priyanka Gandhi no longer wants to confine herself to Uttar Pradesh only. She wants him to get a role at the national level and be able to intervene more in the decisions of the party organization. However, from making Navjot Singh Sidhu the state president by replacing Captain Amarinder Singh in Punjab to keeping Bhupesh Baghel as the chief minister in Chhattisgarh, bypassing TS Singhdev’s claim by violating Rahul Gandhi’s two-and-a-half-year formula, Priyanka has played an important role. In Uttar Pradesh, every decision was taken according to Priyanka Gandhi. Sources also say that the electoral failure of both the states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh has put Priyanka under pressure within the party and now Priyanka wants the Congress leadership if Sonia Gandhi takes a backseat, and Rahul Gandhi becomes the president. He should have the same role as Indira Gandhi with Sanjay Gandhi and then Rajiv Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi with Sonia Gandhi. On the other hand, Sonia and Rahul have a dilemma that in view of the allegations of familyism on the Congress and dependent on the same family, there is pressure from within the party that only one member of the family should contest the Lok Sabha elections and play an important role. There is also talk of assigning an important role to a non-Gandhi leader in the party. If this voice becomes effective, then the first family of the party will have to decide who will play what role among them.

The camp should not remain as a mere political ritual

Party sources say that Rahul Gandhi is in favor of limiting the role of the family in the functioning of the party organisation. According to a source very close to Rahul, if need be, Rahul can remove himself from the candidate’s post. However, an atmosphere is being created within the party to make Rahul the President again and in the Chintan Shivir, the demand can be raised strongly that Rahul Gandhi should take over the post of President. A Congress leader who has been active in the party’s internal politics for a long time, says that the way all the front organizations of the Congress, Youth Congress, Mahila Congress, Seva Dal, Minority Cell, Kisan Cell, Panchayati Raj Branch office-bearers were organized in the camp. Called to the camp, it becomes clear that the demand for making Rahul Gandhi the president will rise so strongly in the camp that no one will have the courage or the scope to say anything different.

Therefore, in the Chintan Shivir, where the Congress has to decide its own policy on the challenges presented to the Congress by the BJP and the Central Government, on the economic, political and social issues of the country, the family idea and the solution of the party’s contradictions will also have to be found at the leadership level. If the Congress is successful in resolving all these issues, then surely the sun will rise in the hopes of the Congress from Udaipur. But if the party simply ignores the real questions and challenges in a race to show allegiance to the family, then the Chintan Shivir in Udaipur will become a mere political ritual.