Organisational Unity of ‘Utmost Importance’ Says Kharge as Congress Chalks Out Poll Strategy

On day two of the Congress Working Committee meeting in Hyderabad, party president Mallikarjun Kharge said that the party’s recent victories in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh have proved that the people of the country “are looking for an alternative.”

New Delhi: On day two of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Hyderabad, Telangana, party president Mallikarjun Kharge stressed on the importance of organisational unity ahead of key state elections and the 2024 general elections, and urged party leaders to “avoid going to the media with statements against leaders or the party”.

The two-day meeting which concluded on Sunday (September 17) was the first conducted by the new CWC which includes 39 main members, who were appointed by Kharge in August. It also has special invitees, ex-officio members and incharges.

On day one the party in its resolution called for increasing the upper limit on reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes (OBC), the demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the stock market manipulation allegations against Gautam Adani’s businesses, as well as a demand to bring the women’s reservation bill in the upcoming special session of parliament, among others.

At the extended CWC meeting on Sunday, the party focused on organisational issues and poll preparations ahead of the state elections in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana and the general elections next year.

Organisational unity

In his opening remarks, Kharge said that “organisational unity” is of utmost importance as the party prepares for the key elections.

“We are all aware of the challenges that lie ahead. These challenges aren’t just those of the Congress Party; they concern the survival of Indian democracy and the preservation of the Indian Constitution,” he said.

Kharge said that the party’s recent victories in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh have proved that the people of the country “are looking for an alternative”.

“We must work tirelessly, putting aside personal interests. We must prioritise the success of the party putting aside our personal differences. We must exercise self-restraint and avoid going to media with statements against our leaders or party. So that the party’s interests are not harmed,” he said.

He also asked the party leaders present to ensure that confidentiality is maintained about the strategies being discussed.

“Likewise, organisational unity is of utmost importance. Only through unity and discipline can we defeat our adversaries. This was evident in Karnataka, where we remained united and fought with discipline to achieve success,” he added.

Since 2014, the party has been hit by a series of desertions, with many top leaders leaving the party for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with factionalism in regional units, as well as internal rivalries that impeded the party’s functioning.

After Kharge’s elevation to the post, the party has won two state elections in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh and become a part of the larger 26-party opposition INDIA alliance.

At the meeting on Sunday, Kharge said that the party should not only prepare for the upcoming state elections that are scheduled but also for the possibility of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

He asked state presidents and legislative party leaders present at the meeting whether local committees at the block, mandal and district level are ready, the regular programmes being prepared and whether potential candidates have been identified.

He also said that social justice and welfarism schemes by the Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh governments need to be publicised.

“..We cannot remain mute spectators. We must unite and overthrow this dictatorial government in order to save our democracy,” he said.

In its resolution passed at the end of the extended CWC meeting on Sunday, the party said that it had reaffirmed the “preparedness of the party organisation” for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In his concluding remarks, Kharge said that the upcoming state elections will pave the way for the party’s preparedness for next year’s general elections.

Highlighting organisational unity, he said that if there are differences they need to be sorted out by the leadership at the local and central levels.

Youth outreach

At the meeting on Sunday, the party also decided to focus on young voters for the upcoming elections.

“We have to reach out to voters between 18 and 25 years of age. We have to tell them about our ideology, about our history and about our work,” said Kharge in his closing remarks.

“We should prepare an army of young speakers who will convey the ideology of our party to the youth.”

Ahead of the state elections, the party is also holding a rally in Tukkuguda near Hyderabad on Sunday as the state celebrates Telangana National Integration Day which marks the day on which the princely State of Hyderabad merged with the Indian Union in 1948.