Kharge makes strong pitch for fixing accountability in Congress organisation at key meet

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge being felicitated by party leader K.C. Venugopal as party MP Sonia Gandhi applauds during the party’s Steering Committee meeting, at AICC HQ in New Delhi on December 4, 2022.
| Photo Credit: PTI

At the first meeting of the Steering Committee, newly elected Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge warned party’s office-bearers to leave the post if they are unable to deliver on their responsibilities.

The Steering Committee, a transitional body working in place of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), met on December 4 morning. The committee has unanimously resolved that 85th Plenary Session of the party will be held at Raipur in the second-half of February next year. The new CWC will be elected as per the party’s constitution during the plenary.

Underlining the importance of “organisational accountability from top to bottom”, Mr. Kharge, in his opening statement to the Steering Committee, said “There are many responsible people in the party who fulfil their duties. But at the same time, a few of our colleagues believe that their deficiencies in fulfilling the responsibility will be ignored. This is not acceptable. Those who are unable to fulfill the responsibility will have to give chance to others.”

He also stressed that winning the electoral battles is essential for the party to serve the country and this in turn can only be done by a strong organisation that delivers on people’s expectations. He exhorted the general secretaries and State incharges to introspect. “Ask yourself do you spend at least ten days each month in the State under your charge,” Mr. Kharge said, prescribing a host of housekeeping solutions to keep the organisation alert. Each State, must take stock of bodies at district and block level, he said, ensuring that these bodies are reconstituted once every five years and new faces are given organisational responsibilities.

Sounding out the States that will face Assembly elections before 2024, Mr. Kharge said, they should have an “activity schedule in place”.

At a press conference after the meeting, party’s General Secretary (Communication) Jairam Ramesh, particularly pointed out Steering Committee’s statement emphasising on “unity”. “The Indian National Congress has a critical role to play in finding solutions to these challenges.. The Steering Committee calls upon every Congressman and Congresswoman to work with unity, faith, determination, and a sense of collective purpose. The victory of the party will be the victory of every leader and karyakarta and a victory for the idea of India that guided our freedom movement and is enshrined in our Constitution,” the statement notes.

This is especially significant in the backdrop of unseemly and a very public tug-of-war between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former Deputy Sachin Pilot. Mr. Gehlot, in an interview recently to the NDTV, had called Mr. Pilot a “traitor” completely ruling out conceding the Chief Minister’s chair to him. Following this public spat, the party’s general secretary (organisation) brokered peace between the two, bringing them together at a press conference in Jaipur. The press conference was ostensibly called to brief the media on party’s preparations for Bharat Jodo Yatra’s Rajasthan leg. With party’s general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal standing in between the two leaders held hands and smiled to the cameras temporarily burying the hatchet.

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