New Delhi: The Congress is gearing up for its Chintan Shivir in Rajasthan’s Udaipur next week and party president Sonia Gandhi has sought a draft report from the sub committees on Monday ahead of the CWC meet which will formalise its agenda. Sources say among the political resolutions, the alliances will be the key focus on the lines of the Shimla Shivir, which paved the way for the government in 2004.
Sources say that as suggested by political strategist Prashant Kishor, the party will focus on how to take like-minded parties on board and start the consultation process just after the Chintan Shivir. The problem crops up where the party is pitted against regional parties, as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said there will be no alliance with the TRS and warned all the leaders not to talk about it.
Similarly in Andhra Pradesh, the party has to make a choice between the TDP or going alone as YSRCP is unlikely to go with the Congress. The party is in alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu, with JMM in Jharkhand and with the NCP-Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
In the North East, either the BJP or the regional parties have replaced the Congress and the alliance with the AIUDF failed in Assam. The party is zero in West Bengal and state chief minister Mamata Baneejee is not willing to play second fiddle to the Congress at the national level as she is herself trying to build an alliance of regional parties.
The emergence of the AAP outside Delhi has created another problem as regional parties are taking the place of the Congress in the states. A leader who recently left the Congress to join the BJP said, “the real problem is regional parties which are eating into Congress votes while the BJP is strengthening its vote base socially and through social sector schemes which played a key role in recent electoral wins.”
States like UP, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal, where the regional parties are pitted against the Congress, will be on the agenda in the brainstorming session besides a focus on 180 Lok Sabha seats where there is minimal presence of the party which is a cause of concern. To get back its lost glory, the party has to form alliances to be a formidable challenger in the states.
The major test will be in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh this year, where the AAP is making inroads, then states like Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh which are going to the polls in 2023. These are the major states where the Congress has to perform better and win to throw a challenge to the BJP in the 2024 general elections.