This Article is From Oct 11, 2012

Is Congress in revamp mode?

Is Congress in revamp mode?
New Delhi: First, the Congress-led UPA government decided to shed off the tag of policy paralysis with a slew of economic reforms. Now, it's the turn of the party.

The Congress is all set to launch a new membership drive from October 16 this year that will continue till December 31, 2012. "We should have started this process soon after the Congress plenary in December 2010. But all of last year, the party and the government were engaged in handling political issues like Lokpal, 2G among others. Now, we are gearing up to strengthen the organization," said a party leader.

New membership drives are usually undertaken between Congress plenary sessions, popularly called Congress sessions. However, under pressure from the Opposition and civil society activists over allegations of corruption, organizational revamp took a back seat.

Now, amidst talk of an impending cabinet reshuffle and a likely elevation of party general secretary Rahul Gandhi as a vice-president or working president, the Congress seems to be gearing up for an organisational revamp in every block and district in the states.

There seems to be some sort of urgency in revamping the organizational structure amidst announcements by other political parties that there could be early elections. The Congress, though, has all along maintained that the government will last its full term until the next Lok Sabha elections in 2014.

On Thursday, senior leaders of the party also held a review meeting to discuss the preparations for the November 4 rally at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. The decision to hold such a rally was taken at the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's highest decision-making body, on September 25. The CWC was convened by the party to back the government's reforms initiatives like Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, limiting the number of subsidized LPG cylinders and increasing the price of diesel. All of these issues led to UPA's biggest ally, Trinamool Congress, walking out of the government at the Centre.

The November 4 rally will not only be addressed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but will also be a show of strength. Chief Ministers of all Congress-ruled states as well as party chiefs of all the states have been asked to be present at the rally. Union ministers and MPs too will have to mark their presence in the mega-event planned by the party.