Ahead of the Congress' Chintan Shivir, set to begin at 12 pm on Friday, 13 May, senior party leaders addressed a press conference in Udaipur, with the latter saying that while the party was open to alliances, it wanted to set its own affairs in order first.
Speaking on the topic of alliances, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said, "We are willing to walk with anyone who follows secular values, constitutional values, anyone who adheres to our ideology."
"We want to set right our house first. We want to make Congress more powerful. If you have nothing, why would someone invest? Once we do this, we can work towards alliances," he said.
Speaking at the briefing, Kharge also lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alleging that the Constitution is being destroyed by the ruling party.
"Constitutional values are under threat. Institutional autonomy is being harmed. Federalism is being attacked on several fronts, be it economic or religious," he said.
"During the freedom struggle, they, their party or their Sangh leaders were nowhere to be seen. They didn't go to jail, they made no efforts. Yet the BJP tries to teach patriotism to the Congress," he went on to say.
"If you are true patriots, where were you during Quit India movement? Where were you when Gandhiji was conducting padyatras. Congress leaders have sacrificed their lives fighting terrorism - Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Beant Singh, Vidya Charan Shukla."Mallikarjun Kharge
He also reiterated a concern that has been vocalised by several Opposition parties in the recent past, saying, "Probe agencies are being misused. People who are speaking out, people who are reporting are being silenced using state agencies."
Big Organisational Changes To Be Made
Meanwhile, the Congress also promised drastic changes in the party's organisation.
Ajay Maken, a member of the organisation committee said: "After our suggestions are adopted in the Udaipur declaration, you will see a massive transformation in the Congress organisation."
"Many democratic tools have now been developed. We are yet to use them. We will now adopt these tools," he added.
"Our smallest unit is the polling booth and after that is the block. We will now have 3-5 mandals in each block. 15-20 booths will be one mandal, 3-5 mandals will make one block. This will be one big organisational change."Ajay Maken
Office Bearers' Performance To Be Assessed
"We hire survey agencies only during elections. We have complete unanimity that the Congress will now have to develop its own public insight department to get constant feedback from the public on several issues," Maken said.
"We will now have a separate assessment wing to assess the performance of our office bearers. Performers will be rewarded and under-performers will be penalised," Maken went on to say, adding that breach of discipline will be treated seriously.
"In every committee we want over 50 percent representation of the youth. This is another commitment we will take forward."Ajay Maken
Maken also stated that the party is considering the 'one family, one ticket' rule, adding that the only exception would be if the family member has spent over five years in the organisation.
"Any person holding any post for a period of over five years should be asked to step down and there should be a cooling period before they can occupy that post again," he said.