NEW DELHI: The Congress may amend its constitution to give a permanent place to former party presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body.
Sources said the issue came up for discussion in the party’s Constitution Amendment Committee, which met at New Delhi on Thursday under the chairmanship of Ambika Soni. The committee, comprising Randeep Singh Surjewala, K C Venugopal, Mukul Wasnik, Ajay Maken, Jitendra Singh, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Mohan Prakash, Deepa Dasmunshi and G Parameshwara, besides Soni, also discussed giving a permanent CWC seat to former prime ministers belonging to the party.
According to sources, if this proposal is adopted, there will be only three beneficiaries — Sonia and Rahul, who have been Congress presidents, and Manmohan Singh, the former PM. The party has been debating whether or not to hold CWC elections at the Raipur plenary scheduled to be held on February 24-26.
The question whether Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra should contest or be nominated by president Mallikarjun Kharge has been at the centre of discussions among the party brass. As per the party constitution, half of the 24 members of the CWC are elected, while the rest are nominated by the party president to give representation to unrepresented sections.
The members of the CWC are elected by around 1,400 members of the All India Congress Committee (AICC). In the normal course, AICC members are informed about the CWC poll at least a month prior to the election date. But with less than a fortnight left, electors are yet to be informed about the poll.
Sources said the delay was on account of the dilemma on how to get the Gandhis into the CWC. They said a decision by the Constitution Amendment Committee to give a permanent place to former party presidents and prime ministers would not only bring clarity on the Gandhis’ inclusion in the CWC but also pave the way for a smooth conduct of election to the apex body.
Priyanka to contest?
There are reports that Priyanka, a CWC member, may take the election route to the panel. Rahul has indicated that he wants free and fair polls. The Raipur plenary may, therefore, see a large number of prominent leaders entering the race for a CWC seat