Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday said that the party needs self-criticism but not in a manner that erodes morale and creates an atmosphere of “gloom and doom”, India Today reported. She made the remark during a meeting of the Congress Working Committee at the party headquarters in New Delhi.
The meeting was held ahead of the Congress’ “Chintan Shivir”, or introspection meeting, scheduled to be held in Rajasthan’s Udaipur from May 13 to May 15.
“Self-criticism is of course needed in our party forums,” Gandhi said at the meeting. “But this should not be done in a manner that self-confidence and morale is eroded and an atmosphere of gloom and doom becomes all-pervasive.”
Gandhi added that she wanted full cooperation from leaders of the party in order to ensure unity, determination and commitment to an “accelerated revival” of the Congress.
“Congress has been good to all, time to repay that debt in full,” Gandhi said, according to NDTV. “There are no magic wands, only discipline, consistent collective purpose to demonstrate our tenacity, resilience.”
The Congress performed dismally in the recently-concluded Assembly polls in five states – Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. It lost Punjab to the Aam Aadmi Party and failed to wrest power from the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
The party has also been facing resistance from members of the Group of 23, or G-23, which comprises Congress leaders who have been seeking an organisational overhaul in the party since 2020.
Recently, political strategist Prashant Kishor had also declined to join Congress as a member of its Empowered Action Group 2024. The group is meant to address the political challenges for the party ahead of the 2024 General Assembly elections.
While declining the offer to join the Congress, Kishor had said that the party needed leadership and a collective will to fix its “deep-rooted structural problems” through reforms.
At Monday’s meeting, Gandhi said that around 400 members of the Congress party will participate in the introspection meeting in Udaipur. She said that deliberations will be held in six groups, according to Hindustan Times.
“Our deliberations will be in six groups,” Gandhi said. “These will take up political, economic, social justice, farmers, youth and organizational issues.”
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that the party was aiming to win the 2024 Lok Sabha and the Assembly elections scheduled later this year and the next year.
“We are going to Udaipur not to draft a manifesto,” he said during a media briefing. “We are going to prepare an action plan to strengthen and revive the Congress party to deal with the political, social, economical, and other challenges that face the nation.”