The three-day brainstorming conclave of the Congress will focus on time-bound party restructuring for strengthening the organisation and making it battle-ready for the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
Top Congress leaders will come out with solutions and clear the party’s stance on key issues including polarisation, Centre-state ties, forming of alliances and attempts at bringing in ”uniformity”, especially in the Northeast, that are confronting the country and the party, Congress sources said.
The party is holding the Chintan Shivir at Udaipur in Rajasthan from May 13 to 15 after a gap of almost nine years while facing “an unprecedented crisis” as it remains in power on its own in just two states and has less than 100 members in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Unlike in the past, when Chintan Shivirs did not set any set timelines, the Udaipur declaration will state time-bound initiation and accomplishing of structural changes in the organisation at all levels.
“We have to make changes which are meaningful and not merely cosmetic” in order to revamp the party, a senior leader said ahead of the session.
These structural changes will be discussed and implemented within the set timelines, the leader said.
“The mandate is to make the conclave meaningful and make the Udaipur declaration actionable. The Congress would also come out with solutions and positions on issues confronting it,” he said.
The last such conclave was held in Jaipur in 2013 when the Congress-led UPA was in power. It focussed on the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as vice president of the party. The earlier ‘shivirs’ were held in Pachmarhi in 1998 and Shimla in 2003.
While stressing the importance of alignment of non-BJP forces, Congress leaders on Wednesday said the party would need to be internally strengthened first to gain a pole position in the event of an opposition understanding for the 2024 general elections.
They noted that no opposition alliance could be viable without the Congress.
“But the Congress needs to revive and rebuild to gain a place of prominence at the centre of any potential anti-BJP alliance,” said a senior leader.
“The message is clear that if the Congress is weak, any coalition of non-BJP forces cannot happen. But if the Congress is strong, the alliance too would be strong,” he said.
The senior Congress leader also said the Congress should not go for any alliance “blindly” and that it should first strengthen the organisation.
“There will also be a discussion on what should be the Congress stand on alliances,” he said, adding that the party would also delve into the growth of some regional parties like the TMC, AAP, YSRCP and the TRS.
The leader specified that the party is clear that it cannot have a tie-up with the TRS and AAP and that has already been made clear.
The Udaipur Shivir will culminate in a Nav Sankalp Resolution which will be the outcome of three days of in-depth deliberations on the political, social, economic, organisational and agricultural issues and the party’s response to these challenges.
The Congress will focus on issues of polarisation, center-state relations, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, economic downturn, disinvestment of PSUs, MSP, social inequities and problems facing the youth.
The conclave will begin with introductory remarks of Congress President Sonia Gandhi on May 13 and a valedictory address by Rahul Gandhi on May 15.
The Shivir will begin at 2 PM following which over 400 delegates will discuss subject-specific issues across six groups.
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