Home / News / India /  Limited Terms, Decentralisation: Key takeaways from Shashi Tharoor’s manifesto

So far, the Congress Presidential Elections has seen more twists and turns than an Abbas-Mustan thriller which has seen a state government in crisis and new candidates popping up every now and then. The latest kerfuffle to hit the process has been a faulty map and a typo in presidential candidate Shashi Tharoor’s manifesto.

The distorted map of India has already seen critics castigate the three-time MP a mistake which has been repeated in the past during the CAA-NRC protests. However, keeping that aside, the manifesto which urges Congress workers to vote for Shashi Tharoor and has the hash tag #ThinkTomorrorThink Tharoor (sic) has some interesting takeaways.

 

Here are some interesting points from the manifesto:

1) Two-year term for President

The document states that the full-time Congress President must be accessible to all and hold regular interactions with karyakartas. It also says: “The President should also hold quarterly meetings with AICC departments and frontals.: Support the President with five Vice-Presidents from, and broadly responsible for, five regions of the country. Appoint General Secretaries with thematic responsibilities who will curate and develop the party's vision and policies for the major challenges facing India and the world. Reduce the number of state-level office-bearers who require ratification from Headquarters. The Working Committee should meet monthly and plenary AICC sessions be held every five years. The Party President and other office-bearers should be limited to two five-year terms.

2) Decentralise

In a section which carries the distorted map, the manifesto argues for decentralisation, stating that to provide a “credible alternative to BJP’s centralisation of authority", the Congress must “delegate powers to state, district and block leaders" and “empower grassroots workers".

It adds: “Re-imagining the organization, delegating powers to state, district and block leaders and empowering grassroots workers will not only free the new leader from the onerous burdens of over-administration, but help create the strong state leadership that in past eras strengthened the Congress' national appeal."

 

3) One Person One Post

The manifesto argues that for a democratic and collective decision-making process, the Congress should have various consultative mechanisms. The manifesto says: “End the perception that decision-making has been concentrated in the hands of a select few, which has limited the ability of many able colleagues to access and communicate with the top leadership. Institute a “shadow Cabinet" to challenge the government daily. Hold regular policy discussions to constantly update the party's positions and stands on urgent issues. Encourage democratic decision- making at all levels. Pledge to implement the Udaipur Declaration of 2022, including the “one person one post" rule, term limits for party positions (normally two terms in any party post) to permit renewal of energies, 50% tickets for those under 50, and increased representation for women, youth, SC/ST/OBCs and minorities in party positions."

 

 

4) “Inclusive India"

The manifesto also bats for the “principles of secularism" and an “energetic and confident foreign policy".

It says: “The Indian National Congress stands for “Inclusive India", a land that lives up to the Constitution's promise of liberty, fraternity and justice for all, irrespective of religion, region, language or gender. While honouring India's rich cultural and spiritual traditions going back millennia, we will constantly affirm the principles of secularism and respect for India's diversity and pluralism. We will support civil liberties, including freedom of expression and the press, and support to citizen's right to privacy, keeping the government out of the kitchen and the bedroom. As Mahatma Gandhi taught us, we will offer a haven for the poor, the marginalised and the disenfranchised, and fight for social justice, with special attention to the problems of women, SC/ST communities, and minorities. We will support economic growth, a robust national security posture, and an energetic and confident foreign policy, in keeping with the rich legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru."

 

5) Up Game in Candidate Selections

The document also argues for professional techniques in candidate selection including nominating candidates at least three months before elections which would give them enough time to introduce themselves to the electorate. It also states: “

Candidates who lose two elections in a row will not be repeated for the same seat. Term limits will not apply to consistently successful elected incumbents. Use technology and data management techniques to improve our election management."

6) Give Youth a Chance

The document further states that to start winning congress must tap the “political potential of unemployed youth, youth-heavy workplaces including IT and migrant hotspots. It adds: “To take back the technocratic leadership of the nation, Congress has a large role to play via job fairs, skilling expos, and developing industry collaborations. NSUI and IYC have a critical role to play beyond the good work being done by these frontals in organising large nationwide movements and mass protests. To strengthen their capacity, we need to embark on a meaningful revamp to make these and other Congress frontal organisations like Seva Dal our focus of attention for youth issues. Young Indians must believe we understand their aspirations and can be trusted to promote them in government."

 

 

7) Ladki Hoon Lad Sakthi Hoon

Batting for more leadership role for women, the document echoed Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s slogan for the UP election and states: “Women will be encouraged to take up issues that actually matter to women in our society. More positions for women should be reserved in PCCs and in the electoral fray. The party will work to pass the Women's Reservation Bill. In these efforts, the role and capacity of All India Mahila Congress will be strengthened."

 

8) Embrace Wealth Creation

Thee document argued that Congress needs to reown the liberalisation agenda and also supporting business and industry.

It states: “Embrace wealth creation and employment-generation in the private sector while insisting on distributing the revenues thus created to the poor and marginal sections of society. Reaffirm the Congress’ history as the party of professionals by strengthening outreach to professional bodies and involving professionals systematically in all activities of the party, including manifesto preparation. Make a sustained effort to revive the MSME sector and provide it sustained assistance to become productive and integrated in domestic and global supply chains. India's jobs problem cannot be addressed without a robust MSME sector."

 

9) More than a party

Finally, the document argues that Congress shouldn’t be seen just as “instrument for fighting elections every few years". It states: “There is a great deal that it can and must do between elections, helping citizens in their interactions with the government, the police, and the unfeeling petty bureaucracy they have to confront daily. The mission of the Indian National Congress is to return to the ethos of politics as social work for those who cannot help themselves."

 

 

 

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