New Delhi, Jan 19: With nine assembly elections scheduled during the current year to be followed by Lok Sabha polls in the middle of 2014, the Congress did well to let in the word 'allies' on its agenda. With this, the party will achieve twin objectives.
Despite conflicting views on alliances, Congress president Sonia Gandhi put a bait for the allies and said, "in states in which we are in alliance, we have to strike a balance between respecting these alliances and ensuring that the party's rejuvenation is not compromised."
This remark will act like a balm to hold those allies thinking of ditching the Congress over various economic polices like fuel prices and deny the BJP-led NDA the luxury of picking undecided or dithering regional parties. But the crucial objective is to smoothen the passage of Rajiv Gandhi and remove any opposition from allies in the event he decides to fulfill the dynastic tradition.
Sonia Gandhi's speech was like a leaf out of a research paper on pop psychology that dealt with current issues like youth, Delhi rape and middle class, without really admitting the crisis of leadership within the party to win elections or an abiding vision of the party.
"We have to recognise the new changing India, an India increasingly peopled by a younger, more aspirational, more impatient, more demanding and better-educated generation," Sonia said in Jaipur meet of the party on Friday. She made a reference to the "growing educated and middle classes", an apparent message to the party to woo them.
The youth factor which came into play during Gujarat elections and the people's movement in Delhi seems to have weighed on the mind of the Congress president.
"Our youth is getting more assertive. It wants its voice to be heard. Across the length and breadth of our country, our people are expecting much more from their political parties," she said.
Sonia Gandhi asked the party members to find responses when people are expecting much more from political parties. "We cannot allow our growing educated and middle classes to be disillusioned and alienated from the political process, we are here on serious business, which will determine our future. We must go with a clear and unified sense of purpose," she said.
"Our citizens are rightly fed up with the levels of corruption that they see in public life at high levels, but equally with the corruption they have to deal with in their daily lives. This is a phenomenon, a churning that we must understand and continue to respond to."
Her remark was to dispel the attack by a section of civil society and others over the issue of black money and corruption.
The party has not been in power in major states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu for several years. Due to this reason, the rise of regional parties (meaning allies and potential allies like Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik) was a major concern for the party at the brainstorming session.