New Delhi: Expressing concern over the growing reach of RSS, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday called on party cadres to take on the ideological challenge from rivals while acknowledging that the party is going through a difficult phase.
"RSS now has its 'shakhas' in villages. Not to speak of villages, they have reached every household now. Congress will have to spread its organisation at the village, block, tehsil and at the district level.
"We will have to carry our message from door-to-door in order to transform this difficult phase into a moment of opportunity," Azad said during an event of Youth Congress, where its new chief Amrinder Singh Raja Brar took over.
Azad's remarks have come at a time when Congress is trying hard to regain its lost ground after suffering a series of electoral drubbings.
The party had recorded its worst performance in the last Lok Sabha polls as its tally plummeted from 206 to a mere 44. The party also lost badly in subsequent Assembly elections in four states with a resurgent BJP threatening to decimate its presence.
Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and senior party leaders C P Joshi, Janardhan Dwivedi, Motilal Vohra and Mukul Wasnik were also present during the function.
Lauding the contribution of late Sanjay Gandhi in reinvigorating the youth wing of the party after emergency when Congress had suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Janata Party, Azad said "he played a stellar role in spreading the Youth Congress' reach from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
"We will have to maintain a balance between the Youth Congress and the mother party. In the '70s Janata Party used to say Congress will never come back to power but we made a comeback within a very short time," he said.
The senior Congress leader said the Narendra Modi government has no "connection with the ground" unlike the previous NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"This government is not here to stay. Modi government is not even like the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government which had a touch with the ground. They have all dropped from the air," Azad said.
In his address, the newly appointed Youth Congress chief thanked party Vice President Rahul Gandhi for bringing forward leaders "like him", devoid of familial linkages, to national politics from the grass roots level.
"People say what is Rahul Gandhi's contribution. This is his contribution. Bringing forward leaders like me without any familial linkage to politics at the national stage from the grass roots level," Brar said.