Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday held his maiden extensive interaction with the state Congress leaders. And the meeting took place at the party’s war-room on 19, Gurdwara Rakabganj Road, where senior Congressmen gather during the late evenings to think and strategise. The high command decision to hold the meeting at the venue instead of the party headquarters on 24 Akbar Road was intended to protect Rahul from media glare and to prevent the details of the meeting from leaking out.
The tone of the meeting, though, was more sombre and the focus was on how to resolve the organisational issues in the state units, especially in the poll-bound states. Besides the PCC chiefs,the Chief Ministers of the Congress-ruled states, who are also the Congress Legislature Party(CLP)leaders in the respective Assemblies, attended the meeting.
Though it was not a one-way lecturing session and nearly 38 persons spoke at the gathering, Rahul told the state leaders in no uncertain terms that they have to pull up their socks.
According to sources, the young leader while listening to a litany of complaints told the state leaders that infighting and sabotaging of party candidates and policies would not be tolerated. It was also conveyed that a set of rules will be framed and the party leaders are expected to follow them.
Surprisingly, the issue of Naxalite violence and security also came up. There was a discussion on how the party can politically reach out -- improve its presence in the Naxal-dominated areas. And it came up in the context of the upcoming Chhattisgrah elections and also in the context of reviving the party’s traditional tribal vote bank for which Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has been extensively touring these parts.
Sources said Rahul was of the view that the Congress workers and leaders were not doing enough to get some of the Centrally-sponsored welfare schemes implemented in the BJP-ruled states in a manner that the credit of the policy-making accrues to the party. The next interaction will take place on Saturday.