Congress embarks on generational change

Rahul Gandhi's elevation as Vice President dominated the three-day Congress brainstorming exercise that concluded here today signalling a generational change and a host of reforms in the ruling party at a time when Lok Sabha polls were just 15 months away.

The two-day Chintan Shivir as also the AICC meeting saw the young leader stealing the show amid clamour for giving him a "predominant" role in the party leading to a Congress Working Committee decision last night to appoint him as Vice President.

In fact, Rahul appeared to have become the theme of the meet with growing demand for replicating the reforms initiated by him in Youth Congress and NSUI in all other front organisations as also the parent body.

Interestingly, the party, which spoke of "unity of all secular forces" in the Shimla conclave in 2003 which led to the Congress coming to power at the Centre via the coalition route in May 2004, spoke on similar lines in the Jaipur declaration but was silent on allies.

"Congress calls on all secular and progressive forces of the country to unite in this ideological battle against those, who polarise and divide society," was a signal that the party heading the UPA experiment for last nine years is preparing for UPA III.

But Congress chief Sonia Gandhi gave a clear message at the Chintan Shivir that the party has to "strike a balance" between respecting alliances where it has tied up with other parties and "ensuring that the party's rejuvenation is not


The conclave provided an opportunity to the Congress to finalise its prescription for the next Lok Sabha polls with the party signaling a shift in its priorities by laying greater emphasis on the urban middle classes and youths in view of the changing demographic profile of the country and shrinking rural space.

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