By Amit Agnihotri
New Delhi, (IANS) With a cabinet reshuffle and party restructuring in the offing, Congress president Sonia Gandhi is keen that both the government and the organisation work in tandem to fight as many as 11 upcoming assembly polls before hitting the 2014 general elections.
Gandhi also wants the party to start with a clean slate, leaving behind the scars of the various corruption charges – 2G spectrum, Commonwealth Games and coal mines allocation – against the party and the government and forge ahead with its development and social welfare agenda, top party leaders told IANS.
The party has to gear up for assembly elections in Himachal Prdesh and Gujarat in 2012-end and in nine states – Delhi, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura – in 2013.
In around seven states, the Congress would be in a direct fight with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“The Congress president feels the new teams in the government and the party should work in greater unison to fight the electoral challenges in the states till the 2014 Lok Sabha polls,” a senior leader, who did not wish to be named, told IANS.
The buzz over a reshuffle in the union cabinet has gained momentum after six ministers from the Trinamool Congress resigned from the Manmohan Singh government on Friday, creating vacancies to be filled up. This apart, many cabinet ministers are holding dual portfolios.
The reshuffle could happen by September end and is likely to be followed by a restructuring in the party organisation, said Congress sources but refused to reveal any details.
“When completed the changes would certainly reflect our Team 2014,” a Congress general secretary told IANS.
He added that party functionaries were keen the restructuring should be done now as “a series of state polls till November 2013 would hardly give us any time”.
“A united effort by the government and the party would be more beneficial to fight the coming assembly polls and counter the negative propaganda of the opposition…that is the need of the hour,” said a Congress Working Committee member.
According to another Congress general secretary, new teams in both the government and the party would bring in new thoughts and clarity on what needs to be done to win the electoral battles ahead.
“The united effort will be for development and uplift of the poor,” he said.
Congress sources said while electoral victories in state polls will help silence the party’s critics, the development and pro-poor measures carried out by the government will help it connect with the masses.