Ahead of the expected organisational reshuffle,which is set to redefine Rahul Gandhis role in running party affairs,the Congress general secretary has started reaching out to individual party MPs calling them for one-on-one meetings. Over the past few weeks,Rahul has met several MPs at his 12,Tughlaq Lane residence and also in Parliament to elicit their views on party affairs in their respective states.
All party MPs are very happy that Rahul is meeting them and seeking their opinion. Until now,accessibility was an issue but he has obviously decided to break that wall. He is calling MPs for one-on-one meetings and also in small groups, said a legislator from Andhra Pradesh.
Rahuls initiative has come ahead of an AICC revamp,which is expected shortly. Although Congress sources said it would be a small reshuffle,Rahul is expected to be given a larger role in the organisation. Since September 2007,he has been focusing on what he calls democratisation in the party through internal elections in the Indian Youth Congress and NSUI. While there remain many question marks on the results of his experiments,plans are afoot to ensure that he plays a bigger role in organisational matters. Jammu & Kashmir PCC chief Saifuddin Soz had earlier suggested that Rahul should be appointed vice-president of the party and it was seconded by many leaders.
While Rahul faced flak for the partys dismal show in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections,what is troubling party leaders is the perceived lack of focus. They point out how Youth Congress membership drive in Tamil Nadu two years ago resulted in the enrolment of over 12 lakh members. People had started talking about the return of Kamraj rule in Tamil Nadu. But we seem to have forgotten about it now. It was at his behest that we had gone it alone in Bihar Assembly elections as he wanted to revive the party there. He has not gone back to Bihar since. He had gone to Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa to fight for tribal cause; he has not gone back since even as the BJD has pushed the Congress to the fringes. This fits-and-starts approach does not work in politics, said a senior party functionary who,however,appreciated the hard work and commitment the Amethi MP showed in UP polls.
Congress sources said Rahul has been reluctant to take over the reins of the party. In August last year Sonia Gandhi had set up a four-member committee,including him,before leaving for abroad for a surgery for an undisclosed ailment. She returned after over a month but Rahul showed little inclination to step into her shoes during her absence,said sources.
Till now he has not given any indication of what he is thinking in terms of his future role. The Congress president wants him to play a proactive role but he is the one who has to take a call on this, said a senior AICC functionary.