Move out of offices, Rahul tells Congress chiefs

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi on Saturday set time-bound targets forstate Congress chiefs, who were asked to increase contact with workers, making it clear that reward will be linked to their performance and tickets will be given only after the candidates fulfill the set criteria.

After a two-day interaction with PCC chiefs and CLP leaders as part of an exercise to tone up the Congress before the next vote, Gandhi asked the state party presidents to "move out of party's state offices" for at least 10 days in a month and visit the districts and blocks to hear the partymen's grievances and strengthen the organisation.

RahulGandhiUPtourDay3_PTIHe also gave a timeline of two-months to the state leaders to ensure that all district Congress Committees and Block Congress Committees are constituted in this period, adding that he will review the performance of the PCC chiefs on this count, party sources said.

Gandhi also decided to meet the PCC and CLP chiefs in the national capital once every two-three months and told them to carry out a similar exercise with DCC presidents in their states, they said.

He also promised to work out a mechanism to be in touch with the state leaders through internet tools or phone regularly saying "there should not be any communication gap".

Making it clear that only those who perform will be rewarded, the Congress Vice President also sounded a warning that leaders who fail to come up with desired results will be made answerable, the sources said.

Amid complaints that Union Ministers do not visit party offices when they visit the states, Gandhi said that the ministers must visit the PCC offices and interact with the state leaders when they go there.

The meeting saw demands that senior leaders, who recommend tickets for anyone, should take responsibility if the candidates perform badly or lose. A demand was also raised to implement the 'one-man one-post' formuale in the party.

Gandhi had on Friday deprecated the tendency of groupism amid complaints by PCC chiefs from Delhi and Madhya Pradesh against Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and some Union Ministers from Madhya Pradesh respectively, which is ruled by the Opposition BJP.

PCC chiefs and CLP leaders from West Bengal, Orissa, Maharashtra and other states had demanded clarity on the issue of alliances amid concerns that regional parties were taking away the Congress space.

West Bengal PCC chief Pradeep Bhattacharya batted for Congress going it alone in West Bengal, remaining equidistant from both Trinamool Congress and CPI.

"We should contest the upcoming panchayat polls in the state alone. Our previous alliance with Trinamool Congress has damaged the party while Mamata Banerjee's party benefited by aligning with us," he said.

He also claimed that though CPI(M) "is keen for an alliance with the Congress, we should avoid it as it will prove detrimental to Congress' interests".

Hitting out at former ally Trinamool, which parted ways with Congress last year, Bhattacharya alleged that there was "complete lawlessness in West Bengal and Congress workers were being prosecuted".

Responding to it, Gandhi said he should strengthen the organisation there and agreed to his proposal for one to one discussion on the issue.

Uttar Pradesh CLP leader Pradeep Mathur said that there is a need to examine at what cost the Congress should be ready to forge alliances. "What is the benefit of forging alliances where regional parties are finishing us," he asked.

This was a concern expressed even at the party's Chintan Shivir in Jaipur last month.

On issues related to Madhya Pradesh which were raised at the interaction with Gandhi, PCC chief Kantilal Bhuria on Saturday said that it is not a matter of complaint but "the facts" should be put out if such a meeting is held.

He was asked about his comments against Union Ministers Kamalnath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, who hail from the state.

"I asked Rahul Gandhi to advise them to attend the meeting of the Coordination Committee. Ministers should attend the meeting of the Coordination Committee. Ministers should take out time for the organisation. Rahul ji said that any minister visiting the state must inform the PCC," Bhuria said after the meeting.

A coordination committee of Congress has been constituted for the state Assembly polls scheduled this year.

UPPCC chief Nirmal Khatri struck an introspective note saying "there is a need to put our house in order in UP. Why we are not getting the support of masses despite having heritage, ideology and leaders at central level".

PTI