Congress Debates Big Reform With Way Out For Gandhis, Others: 10 Points

Rahul Gandhi and senior leader Ashok Gehlot speak while on their way to Udaipur for Chintan Shivir.

New Delhi:
An age bar for party posts and a “One Family, One Ticket” rule – with a loophole that exempts the Gandhis among others – is on the Congress agenda as it begins a three-day “Chintan Shivir” in Rajasthan’s Udaipur today in the shadow of poll debacles.

Here are the top 10 updates on this big story:

  1. Around 400 leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, are attending the Chintan Shivir called in the aftermath of the party’s five-state debacle in recent elections. “Big changes” are in store, said Congress leader Ajay Maken.

  2. The Congress said there was unanimity on bringing back the “One Family, One Ticket” rule, which bars more than one person from a family from contesting elections, but hinted in advance that the Gandhis would be spared.

  3. “There is unanimity on this rule. If family members still want to contest them they should have been active for five years,” said Congress leader Ajay Maken. Asked what it meant for the Gandhis, he replied: “They are active for the last five years. Priyanka Gandhi started working formally for the party in 2018.”

  4. The rider to the rule, which leaves all three Gandhis eligible to contest, signals a loophole that reinforces critics’ views that the party will attempt no more than cosmetic changes at a time there are calls for a big overhaul.

  5. Amid attempts by the Congress to reboot ahead of crucial polls, the party is also considering a plan to reserve half the party positions at “every level in the Congress” for those below 50.

  6. “No person should be in a post for more than five years and there should be a cooling off period for three years,” Mr Maken said. An assessment wing will monitor the performance of the leaders.

  7. Congress leader Manick Tagore, a Rahul Gandhi loyalist, had told NDTV on Thursday: “The party has to represent the youth since 60 per cent of India’s population is below 40, this has to reflected in all our party units and posts we hold too.”

  8. The Congress also plans discussions on “communal polarisation” and preps for state polls and the 2024 national election, leaders say.

  9. Six groups have been formed, and they will take up subjects related to the organisation, the economic and political situation in the country, social justice, farmers and youth. “Every group will have 60 to 70 people. No paper discussion will take place,” news agency ANI quoted sources as saying.

  10. Amid calls by a section of the party for his return as Congress president, Rahul Gandhi is expected to address the meeting on the last day.

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