Strengthen Congress’ connect with people, urges Rahul

New Delhi : Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Tuesday laid stress on strengthening the party’s connect with people in the wake of reverses in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

Speaking at a party meeting here, Gandhi also called for efforts to weed out any bogus membership and making the party’s internal systems “open, fair and transparent”.

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Party sources said Gandhi told the meeting that the party’s structure should be such that it attracts people and should be seen by them as fair and transparent.

He said efforts should be made to connect the maximum number of people with the party.

The sources said Gandhi also laid stress on membership being “real”.

Gandhi’s remarks assume significance in the wake of the Congress suffering reverses in the assembly polls in Haryana and Maharashtra.

The party was in power in the two states but finished third.

The defeat in the assembly polls came after the party’s drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls when it could win only 44 seats.

Organisational weakness and factionalism are being seen as factors that have contributed to the Congress’ defeats over the last few years.

The “membership centric” meeting was attended by party general secretaries and many state unit chiefs.

Many suggestions were made at the meeting by party leaders.

There were suggestions on having a uniform identity card for party members, and on strengthening booth committees by involving more people.

Sources said the Congress was laying a renewed thrust on membership ahead of organisational elections next year.

They said that only those who will be members of the party on or before Dec 31 will be able to take part in the organisational elections.

Party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said it would be the first organisational polls after the Congress amended its constitution to have elections after five years instead of three years.

The election of the Congress president is likely to take place in July next year.

Party president Sonia Gandhi holds the record of having the longest tenure as chief of the organisation.