New Delhi: The Congress party sounded the poll bugle for the general elections at the crucial plenary session of the party that ended on Sunday, with its president Rahul Gandhi declaring party workers will show “how to fight and win elections" in 2019.
Over the three-day plenary, the Congress party gave clear indications—through speeches by senior leaders and resolution documents—that farm distress and unemployment are going to be its two main poll planks to try and corner the government in 2019.
“In the next six-seven months, we need to have strict discipline. There will be some hurdles but let us come together and fight these elections. In 2019, the Congress workers will show the country how Congress party fights elections and wins elections," Gandhi told party members at the 84th plenary session which took place at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Delhi.
Laying out a roadmap for what his priorities are going to be as the newly appointed party chief, Gandhi said that his key focus is to break two kinds of “walls"—one that exists between party workers and senior leadership and the other between the youth and the political systems.
“Some of you (party members) may not like what I am going to say but I will have to say it. This organization (Congress) needs to change. How to change it I will tell you. The worker sitting in the last row has energy to change the nation but there is a wall standing between them and our leaders. My first job is to break that wall," he said in an address of over 50 minutes.
Interestingly, the party unanimously passed a resolution moved by senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, which authorized Gandhi to choose members of the new Congress Working Committee (CWC) instead of opting for elections to the top body.
The plenary gave a peek into how the new CWC, the highest decision-making body of the party, may look like, with likely more younger faces. A number of younger leaders, most of whom have been handpicked by Gandhi, were closely involved in drafting the resolutions and spoke at the plenary session.
Interestingly, during the last two days of the plenary, the dais was kept empty, whereas normally it is full of senior leaders. Gandhi referred to the vacant dais as a symbol of a shift from the past so as to bring in younger leaders to the forefront.
“It sounds like a rhetoric of a loser, devoid of substance," defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while responding to Gandhi’s charges against the government, including those on farm distress.
The plenary passed four resolutions—on politics; economy; foreign policy; and agriculture, employment and poverty alleviation. The political resolution called for a “common workable programme" with like-minded parties in the 2019 polls, demanded a return to paper ballots and rejected the idea of simultaneous polls.