No Elections For Congress Top Council, Members Will Be Hand-Picked

No Elections For Congress Top Council, Members Will Be Hand-Picked



The Congress is holding a three-day conclave in Raipur.

New Delhi:

The top decision-making body of the opposition Congress will have its members nominated by its new president Mallikarjun Kharge and not picked through an election, a senior leader said, once again betraying the party’s struggle to shed its culture of cliques.

“Congress’s Steering Committee has unanimously decided to authorise party chief Mallikarjun Kharge to nominate all CWC (Congress Working Committee) members,” general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said on Friday.

The decision was not unanimous, sources said, with leaders like Ajay Maken, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Digvijaya Singh favouring elections at the meeting held in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur, as part of the Congress’s 85th plenary session. Mr Singhvi suggested elections may even be held after the 2024 national elections.

Senior Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao, however, said, “There is no difference of opinion in the Congress. We have full faith in Mallikarjun Kharge and wanted to strengthen his hands so that he can strengthen the Congress. The Congress will do what is in the interest of the party.”

Former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, son Rahul and daughter Priyanka skipped the key meeting as they wanted to give a free hand to Mr Kharge and not influence the decisions in any way, party leaders said. They will, however, attend the rest of the conclave that hopes to brainstorm for the 2024 polls.

After back-to-back election defeats, years of internal wrangling for an overhaul and an exodus of leaders, Sonia Gandhi passed on the reins of the 137-year-old outfit to loyalist Mallikarjun Kharge in October. Considered the first family of the party, the Gandhis maintain a firm hold on it.

At the three-day Raipur conclave, the party is expected to take key decisions that would lay out a roadmap for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and finalise the strategy for poll tie-ups with other opposition parties to take on the BJP.

At the meeting of the Steering Committee, which is currently the top body of the Congress during the leadership transition, party leaders were expected to endorse the leadership of Mr Kharge and pave the way for a new Working Committee led by him.

Around 15,000 delegates will attend the session that comes in the wake of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, a massive cross-country foot march led by Rahul Gandhi that aimed to rally supporters and address the party’s disconnect with the voters.

The Congress will also bring 30 amendments to its constitution, with changes including the formation of party units at the village, mandal and ward levels.

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