Congress without the Gandhis: Party tries to create future roadmap amid challenges


Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi with her son and party leader Rahul Gandhi during the 85th Plenary Session of Congress, in Raipur on Friday (ANI)

Sachin Pilot says the party will emerge stronger after the 85th Plenary Session and that the countdown of the NDA government has begun with the meeting

Our Bureau
Raipur / New Delhi

The Steering Committee of Congress met on Friday at the party’s Plenary here and unanimously decided to empower Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge to nominate members to Congress Working Committee (CWC) in view of the challenges faced by the party and the proposed amendments to the party’s constitution.

There was some speculation that Congress may opt for elections to CWC, a demand that has been raised from time to time by sections in the party. CWC is the highest-decision making body of the Congress. “During the Steering Committee meeting today, members gave their opinion and with everyone’s consent the committee decided that the party president should be given the power of selecting CWC members,” party leader Jairam Ramesh said at a press conference.

He said the issue was discussed for about two-and-a-half hours.

“The dominant view, the overwhelming view was that keeping in mind political challenges facing the country, facing the Congress party in its capacity as the main opposition and keeping in mind the far- reaching amendments that we are discuss about tomorrow and day after, keeping in mind both the factors, the unanimous view was that this is the time to empower the Congress president to nominate members to the Congress Working Committee,” he said.

He said 16 articles and 32 rules are proposed to be amended and an important amendment was to provide 50 per cent reservation in the working committee for SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities and youth below the age of 50. Asked that no one from Gandhi family was present in the meeting of steering committee and if their concurrence taken, Jairam Ramesh said the discussion was held among those present in the meeting.

The Subjects Committee held discussion on the party resolutions on Friday.

Party Chief Mallikarjun Kharge and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi will address the session.

The 85th plenary session of the Congress party began on Friday in Nava Raipur, Chhattisgarh. According to sources, most of the party leaders were not in favor of holding the elections and, instead, want the party president to be vested with the right to nominate members of the Congress Working Committee. However, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been a strong advocate for elections.

The Congress president and the leader of the party in Parliament get ex-officio membership of the CWC. As per the party constitution, of the remaining 23 members, 12 are to be elected and 11 nominated. So, the elections, if held, will be for 12 CWC members.

However, if the proposal to nominate 11 CWC members is passed, the remaining 12 members will also be nominated by the president. According to sources, there are speculations that the Gandhi family might stay away from the steering committee meeting so that they are not blamed if it decides not to hold the CWC elections.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Friday said that the party will emerge stronger after the 85th Plenary Session beginning today in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur and added that the countdown of the NDA government at the Centre has begun with the meeting.

“A new message will go across to the members of the Congress party through this session. The resolutions that will be passed in the Plenary Session here will be taken to the grassroots. The reverse countdown of the NDA government for 2024 has begun with this. The party will emerge stronger after this,” Pilot told ANI ahead of the Plenary Session. When asked about Rahul Gandhi’s Prime Ministerial candidature in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, he said, “Let the resolutions be adopted, and all the results will come to the fore”.

In another development, coming down heavily on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his charge that the Trinamool Congress was in cahoots with the BJP, TMC leader Mahua Moitra on Thursday said her party was the only national alternative to the saffron party.

The TMC MP’s remarks came in response to Rahul’s claim on Wednesday that the ruling party in West Bengal was contesting the Meghalaya Assembly polls to ‘help’ the BJP win. At a public meeting on Thursday in support of TMC candidate from North Shillong, Elgiva Gwyneth Rynjah, Moitra said, “Had the Congress been able to defeat the BJP, there would be no need for us (to contest the Assembly polls). However, since the Congress failed to win the state, we had to step forward to provide an alternative to the people. The TMC is the only alternative (against the BJP).”

“Are we supposed to sit at home and watch the BJP win another general election while the Congress continues to lose state after state?” she added.

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