The Congress is planning to offer training sessions on nationalism to its leaders “to counter the narrative of nationalism” of the BJP. These sessions will be held at the national, state, district, and block levels. The idea was broached during a meeting of state heads of the party and Congress Legislative Party leaders in Delhi last month. The sessions would aim to build the nationalist credentials of the party, besides focusing on the importance of connecting with voters on important issues at the grassroots. The party hopes the training session would enthuse workers who were demoralised after the party’s virtual decimation in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
There is palpable discomfort in the Congress because some of its leaders will participate in an event in Patna to mark the death anniversary of Socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia on October 12. It was Lohia who in the 1960s had first envisioned “anti-Congressism” to bring disparate political forces together to defeat the Congress. This led to opposition parties — the socialist parties, the Charan Singh-led Bharatiya Kranti Dal, and Jana Sangh — to form governments in some north Indian states in 1967. With the Bihar Assembly polls now 12 months away, the “grand alliance” is planning to use Lohia's death anniversary to showcase the unity of its five members — the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress, Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awami Morcha (S), and Mukesh Sahni's Vikassheel Insan Party. While not everyone is convinced that the Congress should take part, some have leavened the matter by pointing out that Lohia was a founding member of the Congress Socialist Party, a socialist caucus within the Congress, formed in 1934 and breaking off in 1948.
Congress MLA Aditi Singh (pictured) refuses to step out of the headlines. After being provided Y-plus security by the UP government following her participation in the special 48-hour session of the state legislature despite the party whip to boycott it, her name now figures among the 40 star campaigners of the Congress for the crucial bypolls in 11 Assembly seats. Congress Legislature Party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu had issued a show-cause notice, asking Singh why disciplinary action should not be taken against her. Singh was the only rebel MLA to get such a notice — the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party did not seek an explanation from their MLAs who defied the party whip to attend the session, held to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.