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Congress old guard faces Ides of March

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will unveil a revamped party at the AICC plenary session to be held in Delhi from March 16 to 18, and sound the bugle for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Published: 18th February 2018 05:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th February 2018 05:11 AM   |  A+A-

Congress President Rahul Gandhi (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will unveil a revamped party at the AICC plenary session to be held in Delhi from March 16 to 18, and sound the bugle for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The decision was taken during the first meeting of the newly-formed Steering Committee, which has replaced the all-powerful Congress Working Committee. Rahul was elected party chief last December, marking the culmination of the Congress’ internal elections.

Around 1,500 AICC delegates from across the country will endorse Rahul’s election at the plenary session and approve the revamped CWC, AICC and the state units to take the party into the eight Assembly polls this year and the Lok Sabha polls.

Ensuring the party’s victory in BJP-ruled states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan later this year, building an Opposition alliance to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and strengthening the organisation in states would be the main challenges before Rahul.

Former party chief Sonia Gandhi, who had earlier hinted at retirement, has said she will help Rahul rally like-minded forces against the PM and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Insiders said the party was excited over Rahul taking over and hoped that his promotion would herald a new era for the grand old party and cure it of its ills.

Rahul has identified joblessness, the farm crisis and corruption as the main issues on which the BJP will be targeted in the comings months, said party sources, adding that the leader wanted the Congress to represent all classes and focus on articulating the concerns of women, Dalits, tribals and OBCs.

The Steering Committee includes most CWC members, such as Rahul, Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, A K Antony, Digvijaya Singh, Ashok Gehlot, P Chidambaram, Anand Sharma, Karan Singh, Motilal Vora and Janardan Dwivedi. The younger lot is represented by RPN Singh, who was recently made in-charge of Jharkhand, and Randeep Surjewala.

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