CWC meeting: Congress to step up ally hunting for 2019 Lok Sabha elections

The first meeting of the newly revamped Congress Working Committee decided that party president Rahul Gandhi will take a call on forming an alliance with like-minded parties to take on the BJP.

Published: 23rd July 2018 02:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2018 07:58 AM   |  A+A-

Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi

Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi speaks as party president Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh look on at the Extended Congress Working Committee CWC meeting in New Delhi. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Sensing that the Congress cannot defeat the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2019 general elections single-handedly, the party has decided not to lose any more time to firm up the grand alliance for the upcoming polls.

The first meeting of the newly revamped Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Sunday decided that party president Rahul Gandhi will take a call on forming an alliance with like-minded parties to take on the BJP. Rahul will also be the party’s candidate for Prime Minister.

“The Congress has a national presence and fights the largest number of Lok Sabha seats. When it emerges the single largest party, other parties will come to join us,” Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala said after the CWC meeting.

The five-hour CWC meeting witnessed senior Congress leaders from across the country debate how to take on the BJP ahead of the 2019 national polls.

“The fight is not against an individual but an ideology. CWC has authorised Rahulji to decide on pre- and post-poll alliances,” Surjewala said, adding the process involves “real-time negotiations and some give and take”.

It is learnt that the party will soon constitute a committee to shortlist potential partners for the grand alliance for 2019.

Sources said the focus on sewing up alliances for the next Lok Sabha polls was based on an assessment that Modi’s 2014 allies Shiv Sena, BJD and TDP have deserted him sensing 2019 may not be a cakewalk for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Congress is also counting on other disgruntled allies of the NDA stable to come over to the opposition camp.

Notably, senior Congress leaders Janardan Dwivedi and Digvijay Singh, who were dropped from the CWC in the recent reshuffle, chose to skip the meeting despite getting invitations to attend the event.

Meanwhile, the BJP took a dig at the Congress, saying the CWC meet presided by Rahul on Sunday was rather a “Congress non-working committee” meeting headed by the party’s “non-performing” chief.

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