Cong leaders not in favour of elections to two key bodies
A significant section of the Congress party has reservations about holding internal elections to seats on the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and the Central Election Committee (CEC), two key decision-making bodies that will be rejigged after the AICC plenary session from February 24 to 26, party insiders said on Sunday
A significant section of the Congress party has reservations about holding internal elections to seats on the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and the Central Election Committee (CEC), two key decision-making bodies that will be rejigged after the AICC plenary session from February 24 to 26, party insiders said on Sunday.
The final decision will be taken by the steering committee and it will largely depend on what Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge wants, the people cited above said. Elections to the CWC and the CEC have been a key demand of G23 (group of 23) leaders who wrote a letter to the then party chief Sonia Gandhi in August 2020 demanding changes from top to bottom in the wake of a series of electoral losses. Former party veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad and working committee member Anand Sharma had demanded during CWC meetings in the recent past that elections be held in these two bodies.
The CWC is the highest executive body with sweeping powers. The CEC takes the final decision on candidates for assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
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A senior Congress leader, opposed to the idea of holding polls for these two bodies, said, “Why should we have an election for CWC and CEC when none of the other parties has an election for such posts. The BJP, Trinamool, Left parties—none has an election for internal bodies.”
Another leader argued that the demand to hold elections came up when Sonia Gandhi was the president. “With Kharge, a democratically elected president in charge, the justification for an election doesn’t exist. They (G23) made a demand for a non-Gandhi president and we have Kharge ji at the helm now,” the leader said.
The Congress constitution has a provision to allow up to 50% of the seats in the CWC to be filled up through an election. But, for long, seats have been filled up through a nomination process in which the Congress president picks leaders for the important in-house panel.
A third leader argued that the steering committee (the CWC has been turned into a steering committee after the new president took charge) will take the final decision on this when it meets before the plenary session in Raipur.
“No other party holds such an election. We are going to face nine assembly elections this year and the Lok Sabha elections next year. Our entire energy should be focused on these crucial polls.”
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The third leader also argued that the G23, which had been demanding internal polls, had fallen apart. “Azad, who was the top leader of the G23, has quit. Kapil Sibal and Jitin Prasada have also quit. Some G23 leaders such as Mukul Wasnik stopped attending their meetings. The G23 is now reduced to only a few unhappy leaders. Their demands and their position hold little value.”
A fourth leader added that the new president Kharge has already assured that he wants to take everyone along. “Therefore, the demands made in 2020 or 2021 are no more relevant in 2023,” the leader said.