Be presentable before Rahul, leaders told

Be presentable before Rahul, leaders told

Be presentable before Rahul, leaders told

Congress leaders in Rajasthan are conducting crash courses for party workers at the grassroots on how to “behave” with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who is coming here for a two-day visit.

Rahul will hold meetings in Bikaner and Jaipur with party leaders, especially those at the local level for their feedback.

While Rahul’s agenda is to get ground-level feedback, the state party brass is worried about the behaviour of the grassroots leaders while interacting with the Gandhi scion and have organised a day-long crash course in every district under the supervision of district presidents and in-charge.

According to leaders, they have been advised to be presentable in appearance, dressed in neat and clean clothes. Taking precaution against angry outbursts by party workers, who have been complaining about ministers and senior leaders, the Congressmen have been instructed not to target anyone individually to Rahul.  All the leaders have been advised not to indulge in personal attacks and allegations during the interaction, said a Congress leader. 

“The purpose of the meeting is to strengthen the party. So the leaders have been asked to give suggestions in this regard and how to effectively publicise the flagship schemes of the UPA," said a Congress leader.

Denying that it was some sort of gag order, a Congress leader said: “We have asked them not to hide anything, they are free to express their views but it should be in a positive way which will help the party. Rahul is an icon and many times people get excited and get carried away. So they have been given basic tips on decorum and discipline,” said a Congress leader. Other tips include not interrupting conversation and waiting for their turn to speak during the interaction. 

In Rajasthan, there are around 6,000 elected Congressmen in panchayat and municipal bodies whom Rahul will address and seek feedback on May 15-16. Panchayat and municipal members from the party’s 15 district divisions will meet Rahul in Bikaner on May 15, while those from party’s remaining 24 district divisions will meet him in Jaipur on May 16, Congress state president Chandrabhan said.

This is besides his scheduled two-day interaction with nearly 1,500 other Congressmen, who include the party’s MPs, MLAs, AICC and PCC members, office-bearers of the Seva Dal, Mahila Congress, Youth Congress, NSUI, district and block Congress committees and defeated candidates of the last Assembly (2008) and Lok Sabha (2009) elections.

Sources said the party vice-president even wanted to meet the sarpanchs who are seen as village-level heads but the state leadership tactfully manoeuvred itself out of the tricky situation. There are almost 9,200 gram panchayats in the state and a majority of them have sarpanchs who are favourably inclined towards the Congress. Tracking down and sending invitations to such a large number of leaders would be definitely cumbersome.

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