NEW DELHI:A day before the monsoon session of Parliament, Congress president Rahul Gandhi rounded off a busy day by constituting the Congress Working Committee, plugging a big gap in the party’s essential architecture.
A few significant omissions stood out - that of one-time mentor Digvijay Singh, another close confidant in C P Joshi, former chief spokesperson and loyalist Janardan Dwivedi, old guard Karan Singh and another loyalist in Oscar Fernandes — in what otherwise seemed a good blend of youth and experience. The party’s highest decision-making body will have its first meeting on July 22. It is being billed as the ‘extended CWC’ as CLP leaders and state unit chiefs too will meet.
While Dwivedi had earlier been replaced by Ashok Gehlot as general secretary, organisation, Karan Singh had lost his old near-permanent niche in the party’s foreign affairs wing. Both exits were thus partly expected.So was Digvijay’s omission — one of the more striking cases of loss of stature in recent Congress history. Joshi too has had a string of low-performance outings.
Three former chief ministers - Siddaramaiah, Tarun Gogoi and Harish Rawat - have been inducted and former finance minister P Chidambaram continues to be a permanent invitee.Kerala, a state where the party hold is reportedly getting feebler, gets a strong representation, with A K Antony, Oommen Chandy, P C Chacko and K C Venugopal.
The conspicuous omissions aside, the first CWC formed by Rahul as party boss bears the signs of a measured, non-dramatic and well-deliberated move.The new CWC gets close to a year to guide the party through what will be one of its stiffest existential challenges in 2019.
Disbanded last year
The old CWC had been disbanded before Rahul’s ascension in December 2017, replaced by a steering committee leading up to the plenary in March