Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was in for a warm welcome at Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh Railway station at 5 AM when he reached the state for a three-day brainstorming session called Chintan Shivir, aimed at revamping the Grand Old Party facing a bout of internal dissatisfaction and electoral defeats.
In a video shared by Congress MP Manickam Tagore, the ex-Congress chief can be seen stepping off the train, greeting people with folded hands, receiving a garland and a gift, and being greeted with slogans from party members among a crowd of police officers and media. All of this occurred at 5 AM. “At 5 am, Chittorgarh Railway station… Our congress leader #RahulGandhi being greeted by congress workers and local leaders (sic),” he said in a tweet.
Slogans of ‘Rahul aap sangharsh karo, hum tumhare sath hai’ (Rahul you persevere, we are with you), and ‘Congress party zindabad'(all hail Congress party) were raised by the gathering.
At 5 am , Chittorgarh Railway station . Our congress leader #RahulGandhi being greeted by congress workers and local leaders pic.twitter.com/5uujmuZcCm— Manickam Tagore .B🇮🇳✋மாணிக்கம் தாகூர்.ப (@manickamtagore) May 13, 2022
Gandhi on Thursday boarded a train for Udaipur from Delhi’s Sarai Rohilla railway station along with some other senior leaders of the party as he headed to the party’s three-day ‘Chintan Shivir’. Gandhi had been greeted with flowers and slogans by party workers as he reached the railway station in the evening. The train ride was meant to build a ‘connect with the people’.
The former Congress chief was also welcomed by coolies at the Sarai Rohilla station and their delegation shared its concerns with him. The Congress had booked two bogies of the train as many party leaders, including Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh, were travelling along with Gandhi in the train to attend the session from May 13 to May 15.
‘There will never be a Congress-mukt Bharat’
Ahead of its brainstorming conclave here, the Congress asserted on Thursday that it was the principal opposition party but was conscious of its “shortcomings” and was ready to “transform” itself by working on its ideology and organisation. The party said it would introspect in the next three days to embark on a new direction by confronting various challenges and pave the way for the country’s bright future.
The three-day ‘Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir’ is being held in the backdrop of a string of electoral defeats and dissent in the party which has seen a sharp decline in the last seven years. The Shivir will focus on time-bound party restructuring, finding ways to combat politics of polarisation and getting battle-ready for upcoming electoral challenges. Underlining the importance of the conclave, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that the Congress is the principal opposition party in the country and people had expectations from it. This Shivir is for the country and through it, the party will send a new message to people all over, he said.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the session is being held at a time when the country is facing the challenge of polarisation. Politics of hatred and division is being played out in the country by the BJP and there is a need to find answers on how to tackle them, he said.
“There is a need to bring about organisational changes. At a time when the country is facing multiple challenges, it is natural that the Congress will discharge its responsibilities towards the people and articulate their concerns. That is why we are holding the Nav Sankalp Shivir,” he told reporters.
“We know that the country has expectations from the Congress. We know we have limitations, we know we have shortcomings and we know that we need to improve our ideology and organisation further and adapt to the changing circumstances and transform ourselves. With this thought in mind, we have organised this Chintan Shivir,” said Surjewala.
“The outcome of this conclave from the brave land of Udaipur, we feel that it will not just give direction to the Congress to tackle the present challenges but will also pave the way for India’s golden future,” he said. Gehlot also said that there will never be a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ and those wishing so will themselves be decimated.
With inputs from agencies