Shaktisinh Gohil, All India Congress Committee Bihar in-charge, has been entrusted the job to revive the Congress in Bihar. The 58-year-old leader from Gujarat, scion of the erstwhile royal family of Limda state, and a former minister, has visited Bihar thrice since April 2, the day he was handed over the job. He has been holding continuous meetings with party workers and leaders, participating in dharnas, addressing public gatherings, and getting a feel and spread of the Congress here. He spared some time from his busy schedule at Sadaquat Ashram to speak to Dev Raj of The Telegraph about his new assignment. Excerpts:
• What is your priority in Bihar?
We are making efforts to strengthen the party organisation at the panchayat and block levels. We want the people to know that the Congress is not just a party concerned with elections, but a party concerned about the people’s issues.
• Any tangible targets on the way of strengthening the party?
We are concentrating on contesting all the seats in Bihar, not just 12 or 15 seats. In this we will not be guided by the precedent or past examples. It is our long-term plan to cover the whole state during the polls.
• But what will happen to Congress’ alliance with other parties with this aim?
The alliance will remain. We will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls together with secular, like-minded parties. We will fight selfish, fascist parties, which are ideologically bankrupt.
• Given a choice between secularism and honesty, what will the Congress choose?
Our party will never be a partner in dishonesty. However, we will also not have any truck with those who sit with fascist parties.
• So, how will you go about your aim of strengthening the party here?
Luckily, the Congress has workers across Bihar – though some became so frustrated that they sit at home, while some others strayed here and there. This has been due to the successive defeats of the party in the polls. Losing once or twice is okay, but if it is again and again, it leads to frustration.
Why did such a situation arose here?
Somewhere this is a result of the mistakes made by people like us. The workers just need affection and due respect. They need positions and opportunities according to their capabilities.
• How are you going to address this situation?
We are preparing a blueprint. We will reconstitute the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC). I have requested at least three secretaries from the high command. I will divide the state into three zones and send each of them down to the district levels to read the pulse of the people and report it to me.
• You will reconstitute the BPCC on the basis of their report?
I won’t decide it alone, because there could be mistakes. I will prefer a delay of 15 days or a month to avoid this. We will provide a panel of able workers to the high command, which will also run a check and then guide us. We won’t opt for trial-and-error method because elections are approaching.
• How are you going to address indiscipline in the Congress here?
There is a thin line between internal democracy in the party and indiscipline. We are proud of having an internal democracy unlike parties like the BJP. But at the same time, my efforts will be to ensure there is no indiscipline in the party (rises up due to a ruckus outside his office at Sadaquat Ashram to tell the people that he won’t have lunch till he meets each and every of them)… We will not tolerate any indiscipline.
• Why would the people of Bihar listen to you or support the Congress, which has been on the sidelines here for the last few decades?
Bihar is a good state with intelligent people. Around 58 per cent of the population here is below the age of 25. The Bharatiya Janata Party promised them big things, but did not provide employment or any opportunity. They are frustrated. We will provide them better option and what the state needs.
• How will the Congress attract the people of Bihar?
We will provide a blueprint for the development of the state. We will tell them what the Congress will do if it comes to power here. We will not just criticise the BJP, we will focus on providing better, positive options to the people and how our party will make Bihar the best state if it comes to power.
Courtesy: The Telegraph