National

Plenary will give a ‘young touch’ to the GOP: Oscar Fernandes

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on March 16, 2018

Congress leader Oscar Fernandes

The three-day plenary session of the Congress will begin here on Friday.

The session will give the stamp of approval for the organisational election that made Rahul Gandhi the president of the grand old party.

Five resolutions on various socio-political and economic issues are expected in the plenary that is expected to give a direction to the Congress ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The session will also elect new members to the Congress Working Committee.

Convenor of the Organising Committee of the session and senior leader Oscar Fernandes detailed to BusinessLine the preparations and the “vision” behind the plenary session that is being held at a time when the Congress is in Opposition with the least number of seats in Parliament in its history.

He said policy issues will figure in the discussions. “Farmers issue has come up... It is being discussed everywhere in the country... Poverty, unemployment, labour and farmers’ crisis have been Rahul Gandhi’s subject,” he said.

He said that about 12,000 delegates are expected to attend the plenary, and it is a message to the BJP, which wants a Congress-mukt Bharat.

“The BJP can have its agenda of a Congress-mukt Bharat. We don’t have anything to say to it. But people have given them a reply in Gujarat, in their own land. Why didn’t they celebrate the Gujarat results? It is easy to raise slogans, raise expectations, but democracy doesn’t mean a one-party rule. It means there is space for everyone.

“The biggest message came from Gujarat. A feeling was created that the Congress will not get more than 30 seats. But we went up to 80 and that has given a feeling that though the Congress lost, we did not lose Gujarat, and though the BJP won, they did not win Gujarat,” he said.

Fernandes has attended all the sessions and sittings of the AICC since 1980. “This is a 135-year-old party. We have our own traditions and we have a Constitution to follow. As per the Constitution, when the elections take place, when the president officially takes over, there will be a convention like a plenary convention. This convention is one where the president assumes charge.

“For every block, we have a delegate. By and large, in each Assembly segment, we have two blocks. For every eight delegates, we have an AICC member..

“The tradition, convention, everything remains. The leadership is taken over by Rahul Gandhi and a young touch will be there.”

Fund crunch

The session will be held at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here. The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee has mobilised finances for the session at a time the party is facing severe fund crunch.

“Delegates themselves will take care of their stay in Delhi. Assistance and support will be provided by the reception committee,” Fernandes said.

Political and economic resolutions will be moved, discussed and passed in the plenary. “We will have four-five resolutions. Various sub-groups are working on these resolutions and they will present it in the drafting committee, headed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The draft committee will move the resolutions in the plenary.”

Published on March 14, 2018

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