No Congress rally in Orissa will now hear slogans of zindabad for local leaders. Workers can only scream zindabad for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,Congress president Sonia Gandhi,Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The list ends there.
Thats not all. New guidelines for Congress rallies in Orissa also ban cavalcade of motorcycles,bandanas and pit-stop meetings en route to election rallies.
These rules are part of the efforts of Pradesh Congress Committee chief K P Singh Deo,a former Brigadier of Territorial Army,to bring some semblance of discipline to a faction-ridden organisation.
Singh Deo,who took charge of the state Congress last month,has written to the presidents of district Congress committees,asking them to strictly adhere to the new guidelines. Singh Deo was irritated by sloganeering youth Congress members in Deogarh last week at a public meeting.
When State Youth Congress president Rohit Pujaris supporters brought him to the meeting place shouting slogans like Rohit Pujari Zindabad,an exasperated Singh Deo reportedly reprimanded Pujari. The PCC president curtly asked the Youth Congress president to stop speaking,as his chopper ride was getting delayed by the incessant sloganeering.
Congressmen who are coming around to accept the new PCC president said that the guideline is a clever ploy to stop group clashes in the party,which is commonplace in Orissa Congress,more so during elections.
The chief of the partys campaign committee in Orissa,Srikant Jena,who discussed the new guidelines with Singh Deo,said that the new guidelines are meant to make the election process decent and civilised.
Just before tickets are distributed,Congressmen raise slogans in favour of their local leaders to impress the party president. It only adds to the chaos, said Jena. He,however,clarified that Congressmen can raise slogans in praise of their local leaders during election campaigns.
Jena said cavalcades have been banned as they were causing inconvenience to the people. It is at best a rustic exhibition of strength and looks pathetic. Motorcyclists can follow the procession and not lead it. Besides,they may lead to dangerous accidents, he said. Similarly,small roadside impromptu meetings en route to big rallies have been banned as those were throwing the schedules haywire. The new guidelines also banned sporting bandanas as they make make the Congressmen look militant and vulgar.