The DK Shivakumar-led Congress on Monday announced a new ‘Praja Prathinidhi’ concept to strengthen itself at the booth-level, during a marathon meeting where 60 leaders brainstormed on what the party’s strategy should be going forward.
“To make the party a cadre-based unit, committees will be set up at the panchayat and booth levels. They will be called Praja Prathinidhi,” Shivakumar told reporters. “This will be implemented for the upcoming gram panchayat elections,” he added.
The party also decided to constitute nine teams for the gram panchayat elections. “All senior leaders will be members of these teams. They will tour all districts and assembly constituencies,” Shivakumar said.
The day-long meeting was Shivakumar’s initiative as he reached out to senior leaders, such as Mallikarjun Kharge, K Rahman Khan, B K Hariprasad, K H Muniyappa among others. Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah was there, too. The meeting was seen as Shivakumar’s effort to convey a sense of ‘collective leadership’ within the party.
Also on the meeting agenda was to dissect the recent bypolls that the Congress lost. According to sources, former speaker K B Koliwad lamented that the party lacked unity.
“We did some introspection on the Sira and Rajarajeshwarinagar bypoll results. For future elections, we want to prioritise local leaders. A committee has been formed to advise on choosing candidates who can be recommended to the high command,” Shivakumar said.
The KPCC chief also announced the creation of three new party wings. “We’re setting up a cultural wing to promote workers who excel in cultural activities. We will also have a drivers’ wing and a cooperatives wing. They will be set up right from the panchayat up to the state levels,” he said.
According to sources, the Congress is likely to set up a think tank that will help formulate a stand for the party to counter ideological and policy challenges posed by the BJP. “Nobody owns Hindutva. We believe in the Hindutva propounded by Gandhi and Vivekananda,” Shivakumar said. “We will discuss this through a separate committee,” he added.