Congress plenary session: Nomination alone, no CWC poll

Steering Committee meet authorised Kharge to pick names for top decision making body

Published: 25th February 2023 07:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2023 07:33 AM   |  A+A-

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge with party leader KC Venugopal at the Steering Committee during the party's 85th Plenary Session in Raipur, Feb. 24, 2023. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NAVA RAIPUR: Ending days of speculation, the Congress leadership on Friday decided not to conduct elections to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and instead authorise party president Mallikarjun Kharge to nominate all members of the highest decision-making body. 

The decision was taken by the Steering Committee because of the prevailing political situation in the country and Congress's role as the main opposition party. Implicit in it was the admission that CWC elections could create bad blood and shift the focus away from the big picture of charting poll strategies and alliances.

Sources told this newspaper that leaders like Digvijaya Singh, Ajay Maken and Abhishek Manu Singhvi strongly pitched for election to the CWC at the Steering Committee meeting, while several senior leaders argued against it citing the upcoming state and Lok Sabha elections. Though senior leader P Chidambaram openly demanded CWC elections last week, he did not speak at the meeting, said another leader.

Significantly, all three members of the Gandhi family Sonia, Rahul, and Priyanka stayed away from the Steering Committee meeting, which was held in the morning. Rahul and Sonia arrived in the afternoon at the Nava Raipur venue of the plenary session.

Briefing the media, AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the decision to not hold polls to the CWC was taken unanimously. “We had a two-and-a-half-hour discussion on the issue. The overwhelming view was that keeping in view the political challenges facing the country and the Congress party in the capacity as the main opposition, almost all 45 members present at the meeting unanimously decided to authorise the Congress president to nominate members to the CWC,” he said.

As first reported by this newspaper on February 17, the party decided to give permanent CWC seats to former Congress presidents (Sonia and Rahul) and its ex-prime ministers (Manmohan Singh). While the plenary session is expected to come up with a political resolution on opposition unity with Congress as the pivot, a senior leader who participated in the draft committee meeting told this paper that he was disappointed by the six resolutions lined up for adoption.

“I was looking forward to specific inputs on opposition alliances but the resolutions were wishy-washy. I was hoping that the party will take the lead in the alliance as they said earlier. But the resolution doesn’t speak of anything,” he said.

The party will also amend its 16 articles and 32 rules in its constitution. “The most important one is to provide 50 per cent quota to SC, ST, OBC, minorities, women, and youth below the age of 50 years in the CWC,” Ramesh said.


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