On a mission to correct the system within the party,Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi faced some embarrassing moments on Friday when some leaders from Punjab held him responsible for the partys downfall.
In a closed-door interaction with delegates as part of organisation building exercise of Malwa Zone-I in Khanna,the fourth such meeting in Punjab,Rahul Gandhi told partymen that he wanted to correct the system within the party and asked whether the Congress has suffered because of him. Yes, came the prompt reply from a district party president.
Taken aback,Congress vice-president tried to control the damage and told the DCC chief to give (it to) me in writing in the feedback form and I will implement the changes.
Rahuls query had by then opened the floodgates and a majority of the block and district presidents started telling him how the party has suffered a lot because of his decision to hold elections for various posts in the Youth Congress. They said the idea should not be replicated in the Pradesh Congress Committee.
A big no was heard in the hall after Rahul asked whether elections should be held to elect the state Congress chief. We opposed the plan to hold elections for PCC chiefs post as it only leads to groupism and factionalism. Instead we suggested that state party chief should be elected by nomination, said K K Bawa,a senior Congress leader who was present in the meeting.
Some other leaders told Rahul using money power,a number of new faces have become district presidents in the Youth Congress despite having no background of working for the party.
Rahul again shifted to the damage control mode and started addressing the delegates by sitting among them and moving from table to table to listen to their grievances.
Your problems dont reach us… I want the party to be aware of problems of partymen at the grassroots level. The Congress is like a family. We need to respect each other within the party, he told them,adding,I am available to you at any time.
Each participant in the meeting was handed an 11-page questionnaire on how to strengthen the Congress party,which,after being filled,will be sent to the party headquarters in Delhi where senior leaders will discuss it before implementing the suggestions. Punjab is close to my heart,so I have chosen this state first. The changes if successful will be implemented in the rest of the country, Rahul told the party workers.
Meanwhile,Rahul admitted in the meeting that distribution of party tickets was done by four to five persons sitting in a room in Delhi.
This trend will change and feedback till block level will be taken before allotting a ticket, he said.
The meeting was attended by Union ministers Manish Tewari and Preneet Kaur,several MPs,MLAs,former legislators apart from municipal councillors and block and district party presidents.