Surajkund (Haryana), Nov 9 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi Friday made it plain and simple to leaders and ministers that they will have to work in cohesion if the party has to retain power in the next general elections scheduled in 2014 but not ruled out next year.
"With 18 months left for the next general election, both the government and the party will have to work cohesively together to secure a renewed mandate," Gandhi said in her concluding remarks at the party's review-cum-strategy meeting held in this Haryana town bordering the national capital.
Billed as an informal 'Samvad Baithak' (brainstorming session), the meeting discussed ways to create better synergy between the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance government, particularly in the months ahead of the 2014 general elections.
The meeting was attended by 66 people, including ministers and Congress Working Committee members.
To facilitate better coordination in the party for various activities, a coordination panel with three specific groups have been formed and will be announced shortly, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters quoting Gandhi.
Gandhi also said that the party and the government needed to do much more so that benefit of the various flagship social welfare programmes reached the poor and the needy.
Earlier, Gandhi asked all ministers to get cracking on fulfilling the promises made in the 2009 manifesto.
"Those of you who are in the government should get down to implementing the work left from the promises made in the 2009 manifesto," Gandhi said.
Dwivedi said some key bills, such as the proposed National Food Security Bill, were mentioned during the meet but the Congress needed support of other parties to get them through parliament.
"Sometimes, party leaders are dissatisfied as the ministers do not pay attention to their concerns and suggestions," said Gandhi.
"There should be a continuous dialogue between party leaders and those in the government."
She asked ministers to spend more time at party offices and at party events whenever they travelled to a state, especially those ruled by the opposition.
Gandhi did not mention foreign equity in retail but said the government had to take some difficult decisions recently and this must be explained to the people.
She also urged the party and the government to rebut false charges being levelled by the opposition.