NEW DELHI: The extended CWC today authorised Congress president Rahul Gandhi to forge an alliance with like-minded parties for the 2019 Lok Sabha election to take on the BJP.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the newly-constituted Congress Working Committee (CWC), Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) members from various states.
The party also authorised Gandhi to constitute a committee to work out alliances with various national and regional parties to form a grand national alliance.
Thirty-five to 40 leaders spoke at today's meeting where they all stressed that the Congress should play a lead role in forging an anti-BJP front.
Some leaders said Gandhi being the leader of the principal opposition party should be the face of the national alliance.
Asked about party leaders wanting Gandhi to be the face of the alliance, senior Congress leader Ambika Soni said, "Naturally, he is the leader of the main national (opposition) party and we would want our leader to be the face of the opposition alliance."
Senior party leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram gave a detailed presentation on how the party could be strengthened with the help of allies in various states.
Sources said that Chidambaram highlighted that the Congress is strong in 12 states and with the help of its allies, it can forge a formidable front for the next general election.
The committee, which was announced last week after Gandhi deliberated on its composition for close to seven months, took stock of the current political, economic and internal and external security situation of the country besides discussing party strategy for the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament.
We believe that Congress party is the one which can fight against thinking of BJP. If RSS has ever lost to someone then it's the thinking of Congress. We should keep this in mind&take everyone ahead with those thoughts, which is to save Constitution: Raj Babbar, UP Congress Chief pic.twitter.com/r8DEN11bDn— ANI (@ANI) July 22, 2018
Gandhi has set the tone for the Congress strategy by going forward and hugging Prime Minister Modi during the no-confidence motion discussions in Lok Sabha and by proclaiming that he will counter the BJP's "hatred and anger" with Congress' "love and compassion."
Rahul ji has been authorised to form election campaign committee and take decisions on pre-poll and post-poll alliance: Ashok Gehlot, AICC General Secretary pic.twitter.com/H7qlye4fU5— ANI (@ANI) July 22, 2018
Among those present at today's meeting included former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, top Congress leaders AK Antony, Motilal Vora, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ashok Gehlot among others.
This is the meeting of extended CWC which also consists of all state party chiefs and legislature party leaders apart from the regular CWC members, permanent and special invitees to the committee.
Gandhi's CWC has 23 regular members instead of 25 allowed by the party constitution. It has 18 permanent and eight special invitees.