HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Rahul's focus on revitalising party, not core group meets

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 18, 2013
First Published: 23:56 IST(18/3/2013) | Last Updated: 09:03 IST(19/3/2013)

Nearly two months after he was anointed Congress vice-president and inducted into the core group, Rahul Gandhi is yet to attend a meeting of the party's influential panel headed by his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, defence minister AK Antony, finance minister P Chidambaram, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel are others members of the core group.

Rahul was inducted into the committee — an intetween the party and the government where policies and decisions are given final shape — soon after his elevation on January 19.

Having so far skipped all core group meetings, Rahul has been busy holding consultations almost on a daily basis with Congress functionaries both at the central and state levels and party MPs to discuss ways and means to revitalise the organisation ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Congress sources said Rahul has been “deliberately staying away from such meetings” to remain focused on strengthening the party at the grassroots level.

However, he attended a core group meeting as a special invitee in September 2011 in absence of Sonia who could not take part in the discussions as she had returned from a surgery abroad barely a week ago.

Rahul to visit Bengal soon
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi may soon visit West Bengal to rejuvenate the party and finalise strategy to take on both the CPM and its former ally, the Trinamool Congress. The move assumes significance against the backdrop of triangular electoral fights, which put the ruling party in the third position in two of the three assembly bypolls in February. Party leaders confirmed that Gandhi would visit the state.

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