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Jal's report on Pachmarhi



Jal has sent me 4 reports filed by him from Pachmari which he had recently
attended. I am extracting a few pts from each report (and in fact merging
them and giving titles - I hope Jal won't mind) since the reports are too
long and much of it is already well-known. Note the key pts: socialism,
proportional representation, plus payment to parties based on votes they
receive, and essentially a no to privatization (i.e. confusion within the
party on this topic).

> FROM JAL KHAMBATA
>
> PACHMARI (M.P.): A 3-day intense brain-storming session of the
> Congress in search of a new identity ended here on September 6
> with a resolve to stick to its old "Middle path" (mixed economy)
> with a slight tilt to left of the center in a bid to woo the
> poor and the Communists.
>
> COALITIONS
> ==========
>
> The Italy-born Congress President rounded up the conclave with a
> declaration that the Congress "will come back again with full
> force and on our own steam but in the interim coalitions may
> well be needed."
>
> COMMUNALISM
> ===========
>
> Sonia Gandhi gave a call to the party to take up "an ideological
> crusade against communalism of all kinds and from whatever
> sources it emanates."
>
> Though attacking Communalism of all kinds and shapes and
> stressing the need to revive the Congress in the norther States
> of UP and Bihar and in Tamil Nadu and West bengal as of
> paramount importance, Sonia has chosen not to mention the
> casteist parties directly in her concluding address, only as a
> political ploy for the time being. Leaders stress that what she
> had said in her opening remarks against the caste based politics
> of Mulayam Singh and Laloo Prasad Yadav stands. Arjun Singh
> emphasised that they considered caste-based parties as a danger
> to the country and would like to ensure that at no stage would
> they get trapped in this.
>
> PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION
> ===========================
>
> PACHMARI (M.P.): The Congress will canvass for holding of the
> Lok Sabha and Assembly elections on the party basis in which
> electorate votes for the parties and not the candidates and the
> parties later nominate members to the House proportionate to the
> percentage of votes secured.
>
> This would not only eliminate caste and other narrow
> considerations in the elections, but would also minimise
> expenditure on elections, the party resolved in its 4-page
> political document.
>
> MONEY PAID TO PARTIES ON BASIS OF VOTES RECEIVED
> ================================================
>
> Mehta also suggested a different kind of government-funding of
> recognised political parties in which the money would be paid on
> the basis of the votes that each party polls.
>
> SOCIALISM
> =========
> PACHMARI: The Congress made a U-turn in its economic policy to
> again take the left of centre path under pressure from the vocal
> socialists who forced the party to dilute its undue emphasis on
> liberalisation as it vowed to follow the "middle path" of the
> mixed economy saying no other approach was good for country like
> India.
>
> A revised policy document adopted by the party's 3-day
> brain-storming session that concluded here on Sunday drastically
> cuts down the praise sung by former Union Finance Minister Dr
> Manmohan Singh in the original official paper even while
> stressing that the economic reforms should continue. This was
> seen as a definite shift in Manmohanomics.
>
> Reiterating the Congress Party's "commitment to socialism", the
> party declared: "The Congress approach to socialism, to ensuring
> full equality of opportunity to all citizens, to enhancing
> redistributive justice, to empowering disadvantaged groups and
> developing backward regions and to make all Indians literate
> remains as relevant as before."
>
> MODERNIZING KHADI
> =================
>
> Mehta's stress on allowing use of eletricity and other modern
> day machinery  also found place in the document saying the Khadi
> and Village Industries Commission needs "modern and appropriate
> technological inputs and resources."
>
> COMPETITIVENESS BY SHELTERING
> =============================
>
> The economic document also calls for help to the Indian industry
> "by suitable use of anti-dumping and other measures designed to
> strengthen its competitiveness" and social net for their workers.
>
> PRIVATIZATION:
> =============
>
> The sharp differences on privatisation of public sector
> undertakings and bank and insurance, however, could not be
> resolved as the document candidly admitted two opposite lines
> adopted by the members. The document says while one group
> stressed that PSUs cannot become viable unless government share
> is cut down to 49 per cent and below, another group stressed
> that they can become competitive and financial strong if given
> level playing field.
>
> While one group wanted restructuring of insurance industry to
> let in private sector side by side with public companies,
> another group stressed that private companies "would skim cream
> leaving all social obligaions to be met by public sector
> companies. Some wanted the government to reduce its equity in
> nationalised banks to below 50 per cent. END.
>
> TYPES OF MEMBERSHIP
> ===================
>
> PACHMARI (M.P.): The Congress dropped the idea of having only
> one kind of membership following the majority stressing at the
> brain-storming conclave the advantages of two kinds of the
> present membership -- primary and active.
>
> Congress President Sonia Gandhi herself intervented and directed
> AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad to let the dual type of
> membership continue as she found force in the argument that the
> provision of anybody becoming active member by enrolling 25
> members made partymen involve in growth of the organisation.
>
> PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTAITON WITHIN PARTY
> ========================================
>
> The organisational elections' procedure will be changed by the
> party as the conclave recommended a proportionate representation
> to prevent the large-scale dissensions and groupism faced by the
> party. Such a change would stop elimination of any group or an
> individual, the document on organisational revamp said.

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