Clamour within the Congress to name Rahul Gandhi as the party's prime ministerial candidate refuses to die down
Amid talk that Rahul Gandhi will be given a larger responsibility, clamour for declaring the young leader as the Congress prime ministerial candidate grew louder in the party's Chintan Shivir on Saturday.
Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia, Rajiv Shukla, Jitin Prasada, senior leader Manishankar Aiyar batted for larger responsibility for Rahul as the party recognised the need to respond to the demands of "new changing India peopled by a more younger" generation.
Young leader Milind Deora said, "It is a consensus and feeling in the Shivir that youths should be empowered.
On the first day also, a number of leaders including Raj Babbar and Avtar Singh Badhana had demanded that Rahul should be declared Congress PM candidate before the party goes to next Lok Sabha polls.
"Rahul will lead the party during 2014 general elections and would be the prime ministerial candidate," party leader Sanjay Nirupam said before the discussions began on Day-2.
Uttar Pradesh leader Jitin Prasada said, "Things are being discussed as to how we can ensure participation of youths. Rahul is certainly our leader and he will lead 2014 general elections of Congress and the country as well."
Union Minister Veeprappa Moily said, "Rahul is already a leader. We have stable leaders we are proud of them. Congress has always enjoyed great leadership. If there is any disconnect we are discussing these concerns and will ensure that there is proper connect."
About the demand for larger role to Rahul, Union Minister Rajiv Shukla said, "It is to be decided by Sonia and Rahul, we can only demand and we are demanding."
Party leader Manishankar Aiyar said the entire party is with Rahul Gandhi but it is he, who has to take a decision to adopt a larger responsibility in the party.
“For us, the priority is to empower people and discussions are being made," he said.
As the party debated its future course of action and its strategy to come to power in 2014 general elections and reviving the party's fortunes in states, the leaders did recognise the challenge coming from BJP's Narendra Modi.
Aiyar, however, felt that Modi's projection will work to the advantage of Congress.
"As far as BJP is concern, there is infighting in BJP. They cannot hold such Chintan Shivir because they are the puppets of RSS," he charged.
Holding that the Gujarat Chief Minister is "against people", he said if Modi is the leader in opposition, "it will make ways clear and easy for us".
Shukla claimed there is a lot of infighting in BJP.
"There are several leaders Narendra Modi, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Murli Manohar Joshi and L K Advani but the Congress is quite clear on its leadership," he said.
Deora said, "The government is doing a good job but still there is a need to improve communication with our people and youths and we are here to discuss all these things."
Girija Vyas, who heads the sub-group on women empowerment, said since women empowerment is related to women protection, it is necessary to sensitise our police personnel on this issue.
"Important things for women empowerment are a strict law, sensitisation of police, response of civil society and awareness programmes and campaign. Policemen should be sensitised so that they can rightly use laws for women protection.
"There should be provision in budget allocation for running awareness activities and campaigns properly and at wide level," she said.
Vyas also said that the deliberation on Friday was very good. "The address of Congress president was very impressive. She gave a message that the work to empower women should start from home. There is a need to change mindset of people in civil society to ensure that no victim is overlooked by them when they need help," she said.
Strong reaction from cultural circles, Taslima Nasreen, Amitava Ghosh slam Bengal ban on author