Chintan Shivir moots Cong to be the face of social justice

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi addresses party leaders during the party's 'Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir', in Udaipur. PHOTO: PTI

Udaipur: The Congress party should strongly advocate the cause of social justice in the backdrop of BJP monopolizing nationalism and economic development as its agenda at the national level.

This was one of the noteworthy arguments made at the AICC's three-day Chintan Shivir, which would conclude in Udaipur on Sunday.

Committees on economic affairs and farmers' issues, could not apparently present any major recommendations at the brainstorming sessions.

Instead, leaders who headed these panels mostly reiterated the achievements of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, and the welfare and development projects in States where the party had been in power until recently.

The leaders did not clarify whether any suggestions were made on the road forward for the Congress on economic affairs and farmers' issues, and steps that should be initiated to create awareness among people of the party's plans on these issues. When asked, two panel members causally said that there were recommendations, which would be placed before the working committee.

Meanwhile, the committee that brainstormed on social justice and empowerment made clear and strong recommendations on the policies and stand the party should adopt on the issues.

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi addresses party leaders during the party's 'Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir', in Udaipur. Photo: PTI

The Salman Khurshid-led panel recommended a raft of measures, such as caste-based reservation in the private sector, caste census, legislation on tribal sub-plan, and reservation for women (including setting aside seats for Scheduled Caste and Tribes) in legislative assemblies and Parliament.

The committee also recommended up to 50 per cent reservation for Scheduled Caste and Tribes, backward and minorities within the party set-up. It was also recommended to form a permanent advisory panel to keep the party focused on issues pertaining to social justice.

Doubts, however, remain on whether the Congress could continue championing the cause of social justice, and gain politically from such a stand. The electoral defeats of Samajwadi party and Rashtriya Janata Dal, and the decline of Bahujan Samajwadi Party, known advocates of social justice, sparked such doubts. 

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