Sonia Gandhi asks Cong CMs to work on manifestos

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Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, Congress senior leader Manmohan Singh and party leaders from North-Eastern states, in New Delhi. Photo: PTI
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New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday discussed with chief ministers, general secretaries and PCC presidents of party-ruled states the measures to ensure effective coordination between the organisation and the governments in implementing the commitments made in the manifesto.

The meeting at Sonia Gandhi's residence was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayamsami, MP party in-charge Deepak Babaria, Rajasthan in-charge Avinash Pandey and Punjab in-charge Asha Kumari.

Among those present at the meeting were former prime minister Manmohan Singh, senior party leaders A K Antony, K C Venugopal and Ahmed Patel.

Party sources said coordination committees or other such mechanisms will be set up in Congress-ruled states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry.

The sources added that the state governments have been told to depute ministers at party offices on roster basis to meet people and resolve their grievances.

The Congress said it was felt that in the prevailing dire socio-economic and political situation in the country, perpetrated single-handedly by the BJP governments at the Centre and in states, the states ruled by Congress are not only standing as safe sanctuaries of democracy, people-centric governance and economic remonetisation, but also the strongest bulwark against the BJP.

Gandhi asked the party's governments to assign duties on regular basis to ministers to sit at Pradesh Congress Committee offices to address public grievances. The BJP had also evolved a similar mechanism at the Centre after assuming power.

The Congress chief emphasized that the "alternate governance" model, which is people-centric and inclusive, put forth by these states, coupled with the national agitational endeavour of the party, were the most effective way to defeat the "anti-people" governments of the BJP, a party statement said.

While reviewing the work done by Congress governments, Gandhi also emphasized on the need to put in place an effective system for monitoring and implementation of key manifesto commitments the party had made in the run up to elections in the states.

In this regard, the concrete and outstanding achievements of the respective state governments were enumerated and discussed, a party statement said.

The details of systems put into place to ensure effective coordination between the party and the state governments were also discussed, so as to ensure that working in tandem, all the government programmes and party commitments could to taken seamlessly to the people.

It was pointed out that apart from the "constant diabolic game of destabilization" the BJP plays, its government at the Centre also leaves no stone unturned to create "road blocks" in the implementation of Central schemes and programmes by Congress-ruled states, it said.

"The need of an effective strategy to deal with this problem that includes exposing the BJP in front of the people was underlined," the party statement said.

The various steps that Congress state governments had undertaken or could take to mitigate the "disastrous" impact of the current economic slowdown were also discussed and the need to act on them with urgency was felt, it said.

After the meeting, Kamal Nath told reporters, "Sonia Gandhi has asked all leaders in the state to work in coordination."

Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, who also attended the meeting, said, "Sonia Gandhi asked about progress in implementation of promises that the party made during elections. A detailed discussion was also held on economic slowdown."

Presenting his views on economy, Manmohan Singh said till the GST was simplified the situation would not improve, Jakhar said.

The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister briefed how the government procured rice from the farmers at Rs 2,500 per quintal and could control the economic slowdown in the state, Jakhar said.

The Congress leader said Amarinder Singh briefed the party chief on the initiatives to provide electricity to industries at Rs 5 par unit, which had helped revive many shut industries.

"Amarinder Singh also stated that about Rs 50,000 crore investment was going on ground in the state," Jakhar said.

The Congress president's meetings with CMs have taken place earlier too and the party felt such review meetings should be held more frequently.

In a meeting of party general secretaries, in-charges, PCC chiefs and CLP leaders here on Thursday, Gandhi had said, "Let me also say that we have a special responsibility in the states where we are in power Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry."

"These states must stand out as examples of sensitive and responsive governance, accountable and transparent administration," she said.

The Congress is keen on reversing its fortunes in more states after having received the worst-ever drubbing in 2019 general elections.

Gandhi, who took over the reins of the party after son Rahul quit as its chief, has taken up the challenge to undertake the task of bringing the Congress back to power.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS.)

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