In a new start, organisational reforms on way

Jaipur, Jan. 20 -- A day after its president backed reforms for the country, the Congress seemed to be headed in the same direction.

A brainstorming session on ways to strengthen the organisation dominated Day 2 of the conclave on Saturday, with senior leaders calling for major changes to the way the party functions.

These included holding elections to all posts and tying ticket distribution to a candidate's poll track record.

Kerala Congress president Ramesh Chennithala demanded an end to the nomination culture at all levels in the party and a shift to Rahul Gandhi's model of organisational elections, which he has successfully implemented in the Youth Congress and the students' wing.

"The nomination system is weakening the party. It is high time systematic and regular organisational elections are held," he said.

Party secretary Sagar Rayaka agreed, saying the Congress Working Committee should do away with the current practice of nominating all 22 members, as "irresponsible leaders and power brokers" have managed to get into the party's highest decision-making body.

The group on organisational strengths, headed by Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, also received a suggestion that candidates who have twice lost elections not be considered for tickets.

This norm was followed to some extent in the recent Gujarat elections.

Some demanded a cooling-off period of three years for people rejoining the party or coming from other parties.

Another recommendation was barring leaders who hold organisational posts from contesting elections.

Chennithala proposed that Rahul take his revival plan not only to a few states, such as UP, but to the entire country with a 'Bharat yatra'. Others suggested a return to agitation politics.

Leaders also voiced concern over the disconnect between the party and the government, and between the leadership and the workers.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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