24 November, 2020

Reinventing The Party

Sonia at Panchmarhi: "There is nothing permanent about uncertain mandates and coalitions"

Reinventing The Party
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

IT is a time for introspection," said Sonia Gandhi kicking off the three-day conclave of the Congress party in the salubrious climes of Panchmarhi in Madhya Pradesh on September 4. What she didn't put into so many words, was that it was also a time for reinvention. Over two decades after the party's first 'brainstorming' session at Narora when Indira Gandhi was prime minister, the Congress sought last week once again to position itself as the party of governance. The focus, therefore, was on attempting to be all things to all people—something which the party had managed with a degree of success for nearly half-a-century.

Marked by an almost brutal, if overdue, self-criticism, the Congress grappled with ways to replicate the all-encompassing social coalition it represented in the past and which made it such a monster at the hustings. The means of marrying socialist rhetoric with "well thought-out" liberalisation and of reclaiming the party's secular moorings formed the thrust of the debate.

The immediate...

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