Highlights of the press briefing of Dr. Shashi Tharoor, MP
Dr. Tharoor said this is to announce a new initiative of the Indian National Congress "The All India Professionals Congress”, an Organization through which we hope to integrate the educated tax-paying professionals of our country and their aspirations for the future of our country into our political system.
Of course, the fact is that many of you will ask why we are doing this, creating a new AICC department at this time. But I think we all know that India is a vast country that separates those who go into the profession of the Civil Services, Journalism etc. and sees and those who enter politics, there are people who may have an interest in politics but stay detached from it because they feel that the professional work is different and that they have no access to the political world. The problem with this is this leaves out of Indian politics the very group of people who are the mainstay of democratic politics in most other democracies, that is the tax-paying middle classes who have got professional qualification and working for the country in their own profession. The very often of course priority is such people are different from those who make politics their primary occupation, people focus on getting the best education available within their means of acquiring professional qualifications, they try and go to the best Universities, get best possible jobs and they are the tax-payers who sustain the Government of India. Very often they have bright minds, they have political ides but they have no idea how to connect to the political process. They feel that the political process has no room for them. And the result of all of this is that we have something like 3.2 crore individual tax-payers and 4 lakh Corporate assesses in this country, a majority of whom is that they have an interest in what is happening to their tax, what is happening in the country, they do not have avenues to express these initiatives.
I see this everyday in the Whatsapp, forwards I get, I am sure many of you are recipients of similar messages and so the feeling we have is this has to change and the Congress Party of the 21st century must have a commitment to the kinds of people who in many ways will help guide and shape the future of our country.
At the same time, we are waiting to such fundamental idea, liberty and freedom obviously a quality, social justice and pluralism in India. So we are looking for people who embody those values and want to serve those values. We have recently seen with 'Not in My Name' protest, we have seen that many people who last time might have voted for BJP because they were seduced by rhetoric of economic development progress, are now repelled by the bigotry and vigilantism and violence in the name of Cow and so on. I had very many people telling me we voted for BJP last time and we are ashamed of what is happening in our country. And such people I think when they look around what they see, they see the 19th century analogy of the communist, they see cynicism of the 'Aam Aadmi Party' which had also in some way reflected some of them and looking around they want to see a home in a liberal minded progressive group of people who are committed to bring about positive change that we want to try and create through the All Indian Professionals Congress. The Congress Party is seeking to give an opportunity to such individuals to channel their imagination, their energies, their ideas, their professional skills to help meet their aspirations in the country.
The "All India Professionals Congress” is to function as a decentralized, democratic platform. We will have City or Town level Chapters initially as the basic building block. Each of these Chapters will be set up through the Web – 'professionalscongress.com' is our Website. Anybody can log on; they only have to really confirm that they are practicing a profession and are tax-payers with a PAN Number. The reason we insist on is that this is not one more avenue for the full time politician; it is a new avenue for people who for their most part are not very active in politics. Of course, it will be a fully integrated into the workings of the Indian National Congress and so the initial round of Office-bearers will all be experienced Congress Party colleagues but the idea would be that as the organization matures within a couple of years, then we hope they will start throwing up their leaders, will elect their leaders. The structure would be that you go on the Web, you log in, you give that information, you sign up, we are going to charge a fellowship fee of Rs. 1,000 so that it is not going to be just an easy ride just sign up like the BJP's missed calls, we are not looking for fake Members, we are looking up for people who are about working serious to be involved. That would then give them a Membership Number and a place in a Chapter in a small town, it may be just one Chapter for the whole town in a big city, there may be multiple Chapters, but the idea is that at least there should be 25 for a Chapter to be formed and no more than 100.
The idea is to have a Political Rotary Club within the Congress Party where these professionals will link to each other through Whatsapp Groups, will have an opportunity to meet and engage in weekly meetings in their own Chapters, they will feed up to be State level and through the State level, through the Regional and National levels through modern means of communication. They will do that, they will meet every week to discuss current events, they can invite the Congress Leaders either to address them as a resource persons or to listen to them because that is also very important part that the professional Member Fellows will have an audience with the established leadership to the Congress Party.
Then, they can perform activities that they themselves had concerns and function again as a Rotary Club but at the same time, we can also task them. You can imagine the National organization might say to a series of Chapters, we might choose 10 or 20 to monitor 'Swatch Bharat'. You can see how GST implementation is going give us a report, those reports would be fed to our party's appreciation of these issues and will be used by our spokes people, MPs in Parliament, it will become a means of generating a new ideas. Many of you keep saying the Congress Party does not have a new idea. So here is a new idea and not only a new idea in itself but a vehicle to produce more new ideas from the people of this country, the professionals of this country and we will have of course as a result large number of Chapters, we hope as people sign up, we are going to look at them initially because it is part of the existing structure the AICC, we would certainly expect these Chapters to co-operate fully with the established Pradesh Congress Committees with the established mechanisms of the Party but we are also creating a National Co-ordination level leadership. Eventually these positions would also be elected but for now they are going to be appointed by the Hon'ble Congress President.
I have been asked to serve as National Chairman of this new venture. Shri Milind Deora will be my Deputy and also be the Coordinator for the West Zone. We will have Dr. Geeta Reddy from Andhra Pradesh – professional - herself a Doctor to be Co-ordinator for the South Zone, will have Shri Tarun Gogoi MP to be Co-ordinator for the East Zone and will have Shri Salman Soz to be Co-ordinator for the North Zone. And the Office-bearers are gathering in Delhi tomorrow for a meeting to chalk out a way forward and of course to meet with our Hon'ble Congress Vice President Shri Rahul Gandhi who is very strongly behind this initiative. So, this is broadly the plan and the attention we want people to engage, we want people net work amongst them, to engage with the party and the issues and to contribute for fulfilling aspirations and guiding the Nation in a positive direction. That is what this is all about.
एक प्रश्न पर कि बार-बार कहा जाता है कि काँग्रेस में संगठनों पर ध्यान नहीं दिया गया, क्या ये जो दो संगठन बने हैं इस पर ध्यान दिया जाएगा, डॉ. थरूर ने कहा कि संगठन पर तो ध्यान दिया जाता है। कांग्रेस पार्टी को आगे बढाने के लिए हमारे नेशनल संगठन का प्रेजेंस होना चाहिए पूरे देश में और है, इसको एक्टिवेट भी करना चाहिए। ये जो दो संगठन आज बने हैं, इसे नए रूप में देखना चाहिए कि जैसे एश्टेब्लिश्ड कांग्रेस पार्टी की ब्रांच हैं उनके साथ भी काम करेंगे और additional यूनिट के रूप से भी काम करेंगे। हम चाहते हैं कि कांग्रेस पार्टी आगे बढ़े और संगठन भी आगे बढे और कांग्रेस नेतृत्व इसमें शत प्रतिशत हमारे साथ है।
एक अन्य प्रश्न पर कि क्या कांग्रेस पार्टी महसूस कर रही है कि जो प्रोफेशनल वोट प्रतिशत हैं वो कम है कांग्रेस का और बीजेपी का ज्यादा है, तो वहाँ तक पहुंचने के लिए ऐसा किया गया है, श्री थरूर ने कहा कि आपने सही कहा कि पिछली बार बीजेपी को प्रोफेशनल वोट ज्यादा मिले और उसके बाद आम आदमी पार्टी को भी दिल्ली में काफी मिले। हम देख रहे हैं कि इन दोनों के साथ Desolution मत है कि ये दोनों वो नहीं हैं जिसके लिए जनता ने वोट किया। तो हम चाहते हैं कि जो Desolution प्रोफेशनल हैं उनके लिए भी एक घर ऑफर करें, हमारी तरफ से और मैं नेगेटिव नहीं देखना चाहता हूं। हम देखना चाहते हैं कि इसमें काफी पॉजिटिव संदेश भी होगा हमारी तरफ से कि हमें पता है कि आपकी हमारी जैसी सोच है इसमें। आपको लगता है कि आपको कुछ भी राजनीतिक कॉन्ट्रिब्यूशन करने की जरुरत है लेकिन आपको रास्ता नहीं मिल रहा था। आज से एक रास्ता है और प्लेटफॉर्म है। आप यहाँ आइए और अपनी राय दीजिए।
एक अन्य प्रश्न पर कि इसके अलावा आपका अनओर्गेनाइज्ड सेक्टर के लिए और क्या ऐजेण्डा है, श्री थरूर ने कहा कि अनओर्गेनाइज्ड सेक्टर के लिए चीफ हैं, वो आपको बताएंगे, उन्होंने स्ट्रीट वेंडर के साथ बहुत काम किया है, वो आपको ज्यादा अच्छे से बताएंगे। मेरी तरफ से ये कहना है कि हमारा ऐजेण्डा शुरू से पॉजिटिव रहा है। आप पहले से ये देख रहे हैं कि हम विरोध कर रहे हैं, लेकिन बात ये भी है कि हमारी पार्टी का पॉजिटिव संदेश है कि देश के लिए काम करना चाहिए, आम आदमी के लिए काम करना चाहिए। इकोनॉमी ग्रोथ की तरफ ध्यान देना चाहिए। ग्रोथ की जो रेवेन्यू होते हैं, ये गरीबों को देना चाहिए, ये सब कांग्रेस पार्टी ने 10 साल करके दिखाया है। इसलिए हम चाहते हैं कि गरीब, आम आदमी, अनओर्गेनाइज्ड लेबर के लिए नेचुरल होम हम हों, क्योंकि हम उनके हितों के लिए काम करते हैं। उसी वक्त हम चाहते हैं कि प्रोफेशनल क्लासेस के जो आईडिया हैं, जो मार्डन 21 सेन्चुरी के साथ इस देश को आगे बढ़ते हुए देखना चाहते हैं और खुलेआम उनको सुनेंगे और स्वीकार करेंगे और उनके बेस्ट पॉलिसी को लेकर आगे काम करेंगे।
Communication Deptt. AICC