New Delhi: In a further indication of his increasing role in the day to day affairs of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi on Monday held separate meetings with party MPs from Delhi and Tamil Nadu in Parliament House, an exercise earlier done by party president Sonia Gandhi during every session.
The meeting, in which the Congress vice president stressed on a frank and open discussion on party-government affairs and underscored the need to take corrective measures in ticket distribution during elections, also saw some of the Delhi MPs blaming the defeat of Congress in the state Municipal polls in April last year on the trifurcation of MCD.
The division of the MCD was a contentious issue.
Sources said Union Minister Ajay Maken said in the meeting that the decision to trifurcate the MCD benefitted BJP, which romped home in the Municipal polls, routing the Congress.
Maken is learnt to have said that the though the decision was administratively correct, it`s timing was not right and it could have been done at a later stage.
West Delhi MP Mahabal Mishra said that the trifurcation has also created large number of small seats in Municipal areas due to which more number of rebels contest in any polls, another problem before the party, the sources said.
Mishra also said that the regularisation of the 895 colonies done in September last year should have been annnounced in some grand party rally addressed by the central leaders including party chief Sonia Gandhi to make people realize that it happened due to efforts of the party.
"This could have got electoral dividents to the party," Mishra is learnt to have said in the meeting.
1639 colonies were given provisional regularisation certificate ahead of elections in 2008 by Congress President. Out of this 895 were regularised in September last year.
The over 60 lakh population of Delhi in unauthorized colonies are traditional voters of Congress but they did not vote for the party in the Municipal polls last year and this was attributed as a main reason for the crushing defeat of Congress.
Sources said the need for having some sound system for ticket distribution was raised at the meeting.
Gandhi is learnt to have emphasized that the tickets should be given after a consensus and keeping in mind the ‘winnability’ of the candidate and those not getting tickets can be accommodated in party positions and other similar profiles.
Talking to reporters after the interaction, the Congress Vice President said that it was a "general meeting" and that he plans to meet MPs from all states in days to come during the ongoing Budget session.
MPs from Tamil Nadu were the first to meet him, which was followed by an hour long-meeting with Delhi MPs.
Sources said that Mishra told the meeting that the population of migrants has increased in the national capital and their votes are substantial in many pockets.
Hence they should be given greater representation at various levels of the organization.
He also cited the example of the BJP saying they field more number of migrants in the polls.
Delhi PCC chief J P Agrawal wanted to raise some specific issues related to party organization but was asked by Gandhi to wait for some other time for it, the sources said.
Gandhi also had a brief interaction with school students from Surat in Gujarat, who had come to Parliament House to watch the proceedings of Lok Sabha but could not do so as the House adjourned for the day at 2 PM.
Sources said that Gandhi will be meeting MPs from two states each day during this session. The meeting was also attended by AICC general secretary in-charges for Tamil Nadu Ghulam Nabi Azad and Delhi Chaudhary Birender Singh.
East Delhi MP Sandip Dikshit is learnt to have spoken about the electoral challenges before the party.