Rahul’s team has emphasised on moving the party more clearly “left of centre”, with a special focus on, and engagement with, people “above the poverty line but below the middle class”. The party had during the campaign coined the acronym NRMB — ‘Not rich, not middle class, not BPL’ — for the 70 crore people between the APL and middle class sections. Working to ensure better relations with the Left parties is part of the new ideological direction.
The blueprint, prepared primarily by Rahul’s close aides Mohan Gopal and Sachin Rao, also proposes structural changes aimed at bringing in greater accountability and transparency.
It stresses on greater democratisation at every level of the party, through elections for the posts of the chiefs of Pradesh Congress Committees, District Congress Committees and Block Congress Committees, and seeks greater accountability from all committee chiefs.
Party sources said the proposal to hold elections dovetails with the emphasis on bringing younger people to key positions in the party. In the run- up to the polls, younger leaders Sachin Pilot and Arun Yadav had been picked as heads of party units in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
The sources said the post-election plan was much like Rahul’s earlier experiment with internal democracy in the Youth Congress and NSUI. That experiment was, however, widely perceived to have been unsuccessful.
The roadmap charts the Congress’s plan for life after what could be its worst electoral performance ever, with its top leadership receiving much flak for its handling of the party and its campaign. The sources said that the drastic changes planned could, however, cause resentment and further alienate the old guard.
Rahul’s ‘primaries’ experiment to select candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, in tune with his focus on bringing in greater democracy, will be expanded. The party had followed a longdrawn ‘open consultation’ process to prepare the Lok Sabha election manifesto, having held discussions with various stakeholder groups.