Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s khaat sabhas in UP aren’t the only innovation the party has come up with to energise its ranks. In Gujarat and Rajasthan, the party is experimenting with “dinner meetings”, aimed at bringing together senior leaders to sort out differences.
The idea is an upgrade of the existing monthly meetings, which were mandated by Rahul, of key party functionaries from the block, district and PCC. There is, however, one difference. The dinner meetings are supposed to be more exclusive in terms of their setting and attendance, with senior leaders hosting dinners for each other without the presence of party cadre.
Two such dinners have been hosted in Gujarat — by Siddharth Patel on July 29 and Shankarsinh Vaghela on August 12.
In Rajasthan, the experiment will begin with former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot hosting a dinner for another former CM, Jagannath Paharia, and other leaders on October 3. The next dinner will be hosted by Rajasthan PCC chief Sachin Pilot.
AICC General Secretary Gurudas Kamat, who claims to have floated the idea for Gujarat and Rajasthan — the two states he is in-charge of, says the purpose is to bring leaders together in an informal space.
“This is based on the good response generated by the monthly meetings, but while those are crowded affairs, with about 180 people including leaders and cadre, these dinner meetings are meant to be smaller,” Kamat told The Indian Express. “These meetings will have about 15-16 people, mostly senior leaders in a cosy, informal setting like someone’s residence. In such a setting, people are more vocal about things that sometimes cannot be said in the presence of party cadre,” he said.
Asked whether the experiment could be replicated in other states, Kamat said it was up to the other general secretaries.