In a first, a little more than half of the delegates at the two-day Congress Chintan Shivir at Jaipur on January18-20 will be from the youth, party sources confirmed today.
“Of the 300-odd delegates, 160 invitees will be NSUI and Youth Congress members, representing the youth wings of the party. The other invitees include the Congress Working Committee (the highest decision making body) members and Cabinet ministers,” sources told Business Standard.
The importance being given to the youth brigade has raised a lot of eyebrows within the organisation.
Within the council of ministers, while cabinet ministers and ministers (independent charge) have made the cut, ministers of state (MoS) have been left out. Interestingly, young MoS, who would otherwise not have made the cut for the shivir, been invited due to their status as youth representatives. MoS HRD Jitin Prasad is one such invitee.
A leader closely associated with the organising of the shivir explained why so many delegates would be from the youth. “It will be RG ( Rahul Gandhi)’s vision and theme that will be displayed at Jaipur. This chintan shivir will bear the stamp of Rahul Gandhi,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi is still officially designated as general secretary incharge of the NSUI and Youth Congress. Recently, he was appointed head of the election co-ordination committee for the general elections in 2014.
The two-day brainstorming session will be thrashing out ideological issues confronting the party in the run-up to 2014
Six sub-groups have deliberated on themes ranging from political alliances, foreign policy to socio-economic challenges, women empowerment, agriculture, etc and given their drafts to Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
These themes will be taken up for wider discussion at the shivir, keeping in mind Rahul Gandhi’s pet theme, which has for long been ‘poverty alleviation’. The threat posed by left-wing extremism and the tribal situation is a prominent issue that will figure in the discussion on socio- economic challenges.
A senior functionary involved in the discussions said, “The shivir will be looking at issues from a macro perspective. For example, the economy in a macro perspective and how it will affect the poor.”
The first Congress ‘chintan shivir’ was held at Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh in 1998, soon after Sonia Gandhi took over as head of the party organisation. The second shivir was held at Shimla in 2003, which paved the way for the Congress coming to power at the Centre in May, 2004.