New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi on Thursday held his first formal meeting with AICC office bearers here after taking over as Congress vice president, which saw demands for bringing in discipline and cohesiveness in the party's functioning.

In his opening remarks, Rahul Gandhi insisted on a "frank and open" discussion.

Sources said that the meeting saw a large number of members raising the issue of indiscipline in the party saying this is turning out to be a major problem during elections.

Some leaders expressed annoyance by the "practice of few" to cross the party's official line while commenting on issues.
Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who doubles up AICC general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh said that one- man-one-post should be implemented in the party.

After the meeting was over, Rahul Gandhi told reporters that the discussions were on "general issues and "very good" and that he "just heard out what people had to say".

Since the discussion could not be completed, the meeting will continue tomorrow as well.

AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said that a total of 19 persons including Rahul Gandhi spoke in the meeting, which was attended by 52 of 57 persons including AICC general secretaries, AICC secretaries, in-charges of states and chiefs of all the frontal wings of the party, who were invited.

"Rahul Gandhi said that he wanted all leaders to speak out their mind openly and not hide anything. He said that if we want to strengthen the party, it is necessary that we put forth views frankly and truthfully," Dwivedi told reporters after the meeting.

Gandhi told the leaders that the party has to look to future now. "I want to know your opinion on how to traverse the path ahead," he said.

Other leaders, who spoke included Ahmed Patel, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Mohsina Kidwai, Digvijay Singh, Mukul Wasnik, Madhusudan Mistri, B K Hariprasad, Chaudhary Bireder Singh, Shakeel Ahmed, Mohan Prakash and Jagdish Tytler and Luizinho Faleiro.

Issues like how to tone up organisational strength of the party ahead of Assembly elections in nine states this year and Lok Sabha elections next year came up during discussions.

Members also talked about how to take forward the road map of Chintan Shivir. Various suggestions were also made on how to go for membership from the lowest level up to the AICC level.

The meeting is significant since this is the first formal interaction of Gandhi with party leaders after he was appointed as Congress vice president during its two-day 'chintan shivir' in Jaipur on January 19.

He formally took over his position in the AICC on January 23.

In his brief interaction with the media after joining his new office in the AICC then, Gandhi had made a strong pitch for positive politics promising to make Congress an "instrument of change".

In his first informal interaction with senior party leaders then, he had also sought to raise their comfort level saying there were some leaders whose experience in politics is more than his age and he is looking forward to draw from their experience.

"Congress party is best instrument to change things. It is the best instrument to bring youngsters into politics. I think it is the most powerful instrument.

"What I want to do is to take the Congress family, make it accessible to as many youngsters and experienced people as possible and try and use this instrument to change this country," Gandhi had told the media then.

Gandhi had also held another informal meeting with the national office bearers of the Indian Youth Congress and NSUI on January 25 asking them to work with greater focus to strengthen the party.


Latest News from India News Desk