NEW DELHI: Congress is likely to seek greater interaction with "religious, social and cultural groups" to deepen its contact with the institutions that command loyalty of key population blocs. It is likely to figure in the resolution on organisational revival at the Chintan Shivir.
Sources said at a discussion on political affairs at the Chintan Shivir, an animated discussion ensued on a suggestion made by a leader that the party should seek to rope in bodies that represent key sections of the society, and may provide a better way to connect religious, caste and social groups. Some members, like Karnataka legislator BK Hari Prasad, opposed it, with their concern being that it will make the Congress look like BJP that woos people on the basis of religion. But members like Acharya Pramod and Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel backed the proposal, arguing that Congress outreach can be "inclusive" where its contacts will be across caste and religious divide, and will not imitate BJP's strategy that focuses on one religion. Sources said senior lawyer Abhishek Singhvi mediated in the standoff and hammered out a rapprochement.
Sources said there was also a robust debate on "soft Hindutva". A leader argued that the party should not be defensive on the issue of polarisation and should call out BJP for divisive politics. However, some members felt that the party should be wary of overt aggression. Baghel is learnt to have argued that while Congress rightly targets communalism, it should go ahead with cultural outreach to Hindus, like Congress is pursuing in Chhattisgarh through various initiatives on religious tourism, cow protection and purchase of cow dung. He is learnt to have pointed out that Madhya Pradesh leader Kamal Nath is also following the policy with good results, as it has managed to contain BJP.