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'No magic wand': Cong's Chintan Shivir to focus on party revival

The Shivir will conduct deliberations across six different groups that will take up political, economic, social justice, farmers, youth, and organisational issues

Sonia Gandhi | Indian National Congress | Udaipur

Aditi Phadnis 

Sonia Gandhi
Congress President Sonia Gandhi with party leaders Rahul Gandhi, Pawan Bansal, and KC Venugopal during the CWC meeting, in New Delhi on Monday PHOTO: PTI

Setting the rules for a potentially contentious party meeting, Congress President asked those 400 or so delegates who will attend the Congress’ Chintan Shivir (brainstorming session) at later this week to avoid a blame game.

“Self-criticism is of course needed in our party fora. But this should not be done in a manner that erodes self-confidence and morale and an atmosphere of gloom and doom prevails. To the contrary, we are beholden to put our heads together and tog­ether, collectively overcome the challenges that face us,” she said in her remarks to the Congress Working Com­mittee (CWC) that met on Monday to finalise the outlines of the resolutions that will be debated and passed at the Shivir.

“There are no magic wands. It is only with selfless work, discipline, and a sense of consistent collective purpose that we will demonstrate our tenacity and resilience,” said Sonia, following serial electoral defeat, bitterness, and unprecedented divisions in the party. “The party has been central to the life of each and every one of us. It has expected our total allegiance and has been good to each and every one of us. Now, when we are at a crucial juncture, it is imperative that we step forward and repay our debt to the party in full measure.”

The Shivir will conduct deliberations across six different groups that will take up political, economic, social justice, farmers, youth, and organisational issues. Under this broad rubric, existential issues like whether the Congress should fight all elections on its own or strike up alliances and contest only 350 seats of the 545 Lok Sabha seats (as proposed by strategist Prashant Kishor) will be discussed.

“This requires that the Shivir does not become a ritual, something we must just get through. I am determined that it should herald a restructured organisation to meet the many ideological, electoral, and managerial tasks we confront,” she added.

The party has been at a crossroads in 1998, 2003, and 2013 and such meetings have been held on three previous occasions. While nothing dramatic is expected from the meeting in Udaipur, for many in the Congress it represents the crossroads between revival and death.

CWC members tasked with drafting resolutions briefed the body on the formulations. These will be further discussed in .

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First Published: Mon, May 09 2022. 23:25 IST