Cong 'chintan shivir' on the backburner
New Delhi: Congress plans of a brainstorming
session this month appears to have been put on the backburner
in the wake of the announcement of Assembly elections in five
"You don't think about holding such meets when you are
facing elections in several states," a senior party leader
remarked a day after the poll schedule of West Bengal, Tamil
Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry was announced.
As per earlier plans, Congress was toying with the idea of
holding the brainstorming session of senior leaders somewhere
in Rajasthan this month.
Jaipur and Jodhpur were being talked about the likely
venue for the meet which was planned to be held during the
recess period of the Budget session of Parliament.
At the Congress plenary session here two months back,
party chief Sonia Gandhi had announced plans to hold the
brainstorming meet to generate fresh ideas and had indicated
that young leaders would also be involved in the exercise.
Gandhi's announcement about the party turning
introspective had come at a time when Congress and its
government at the Centre was hammered by the courts and
trapped by scams and corruption charges and the party had
faced a crushing defeat in the Bihar Assembly polls.
It was seen as an effort to make the organisation battle
At the plenary, Gandhi had said a 'Chintan Shivir' would
be held in the next few months to give the party "an
opportunity to refresh its perspectives on crucial national
issues and also review the functioning of the organisation."
Incidentally, holding of such 'shivirs' is the brainchild
of Gandhi. She had held Pachmarhi conclave in 1998, just a few
months after taking over as party chief from the late Sitaram
Kesari when the party was going through a bad patch.
At Pachmarhi, Congress had taken an ambivalent position on
the issue of coalitions noting that the country was passing
through a transient phase.
Gandhi had organised the Shimla conclave in 2003 and the
Shimla resolve calling for unity of all secular forces
resulted in the ouster of the BJP-led NDA in mid 2004 under
At the recent plenary, Gandhi had underlined that
throughout its history, the Congress has been a party of ideas
responding to changing political and economic circumstances.
"I firmly believe that we must periodically introspect
together and if necessary reassess our position on critical
issues to keep pace with the time," she had said announcing
her plans about the meet.
Her refrain was that the party's future will depend on its
capacity to work together as a team and to ensure that the
organisation "does not pull in different directions".