Rahul Gandhi on Friday gave first indications of taking complete control of the party, delivering virtually a blueprint of the road ahead for the party to All India Congress Committee (AICC) office-bearers and preparing them to fight a long battle against the BJP government. He wanted AICC secretaries, key links between the high command and the states, to be more proactive, spend more time in states assigned to them and identify local-specific issues to revive the connect with the people.
Indicating that he will be more hands on from now on, he told the AICC secretaries during a 90-minute meeting — his first such structural interaction after his return from the eight-week-long political break — that he will seek regular feedback from them on developments in states and meet them once a month. Sources said he told them to identify mid- and lower-level leaders who carry the Congress ideology and promote them.
The Congress vice-president asked the secretaries to spend most of their time in states given to them and identify issues which agitate the people. The thrust of Rahul’s address was on waging a long-term battle against the BJP, sources said. He told them that the BJP government was bound to make moves which will agitate the common man since it was “big business friendly”.
Moreover, the BJP came to power making huge promises which it would not be able to deliver. The Congress, he told secretaries, will have to capitalise on this expected situation and take up people’s struggles to reclaim the trust of the people.
Sources said Rahul meant business at the meeting. Every secretary was asked to give a report on the states assigned to them which he heard patiently. When one of them complained that general secretaries are not allocating them enough work, he intervened to say the meeting was not a complaint session, sources said. He asked the secretaries to focus on the positive aspects of the party, signalling that he will not brook internal politics. The overall thrust on image building, sources said.
Rahul himself is planning to travel extensively. After Punjab and Maharasthra, his next stop would be Telangana. He will lead a padayatra in Adilabad district and interact with distressed farmers on May 15.
The Congress vice-president was earlier scheduled to hold the padayatra on May 12, but postponed it by three days because of the extension of the Lok Sabha session.