Winds of Change to Blow Over AICC Meet - The New Indian Express

Winds of Change to Blow Over AICC Meet

Published: 12th January 2014 09:36 AM

Last Updated: 12th January 2014 09:41 AM

That the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting scheduled to be held here on January 17 could see the anointment of  Rahul Gandhi for a bigger role is already known. But the session may not just be about a big leadership change. If Rahul has his way, it would usher in a ‘big idea’ that would shake the party out of its slothful ways.

The AICC meeting, which the party’s old guard are a bit uncomfortable about, would see the Congress acceding to major changes at the  organisation level.

“It is not so much the political philosophy of  the party that will be tinkered with, the change should be expected on how that message is carried to the people and how the party connects with the people,” a close aide of Rahul said.

Four high-profile preliminary meetings have already taken place to see how it would translate on the ground. One meet was held at an unofficial level in which Priyanka Gandhi conferred with the party’s top leaders. It was followed by another one the very next day where Sonia Gandhi met Rahul at his residence in Priyanka’s presence.

Then, there were discussions at the Congress core committee. Rahul, on his part, has had a preliminary meeting with the newly appointed heads of the party’s screening committee who will oversee the selection of candidates. The blueprint of the change was shared with the broader section of the party’s entrenched second-rung leaders.

One of the ‘major changes’ that could be expected is the adoption of ‘open door’ policy  whereby new entrants, who have no political background, will be given ‘ample opportunity’ to join as active members of the party. “They will be granted lateral entry,” said a source. The old practice of keeping the levers of the party in the hands of a closed coterie and a few leaders, will be replaced.

Rahul, it seems, is determined to have his way. Sources say he is ready to be projected as the party’s prime ministerial candidate provided he is allowed to have his way and say in candidate selection as well as how the party organisation functions.

Priyanka stepped in to smooth the ruffled feathers of the party’s old guard, one of the reasons why nine of them were chosen to head the screening committees of various states to balance out the undue influence a new entrant in the party, Rahul acolyte Madhusudan Mistry, brought into the Central Election Commission as its general secretary. But, the old guard may not be allowed the last laugh.

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