Congress president Sonia Gandhi addresses a CWC meeting via video conferencing, in New Delhi, in June 2020. (File photo)
Congress president Sonia Gandhi addresses a CWC meeting via video conferencing, in New Delhi, in June 2020. (File photo)

CWC meeting today likely to take stand on Arnab chat leak, farm protests

The top executive body of the Congress may ask for a repeal of the laws a day after farmer bodies rejected the government’s proposal to put the laws in abeyance for up to 18 months
By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:47 AM IST

The ongoing farmers’ protest and the WhatsApp chat leak involving journalist Arnab Goswami are likely to feature prominently in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Friday even as all eyes would be on the decision on the organisational polls.

The CWC will debate the farmers’ protests against the three farm laws that were cleared in Parliament without review. The top executive body of the Congress may ask for a repeal of the laws a day after farmer bodies rejected the government’s proposal to put the laws in abeyance for up to 18 months.

Just three days ago, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the government over the farm laws and announced “100% support” for protesting farmers. Gandhi maintained that the new farm laws are aimed at making monopolies in the farm sector.

Also read | Ahead of UP polls, Congress releases calendar with Priyanka Gandhi’s photos

Similarly, on Wednesday, the party rallied former defence minister AK Antony and a group of senior UPA-era ministers to hit out at the government over the chat leak involving Goswami. The Congress dubbed the leak as an act of treason and pointed a finger at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah. “The Arnab Goswami saga reveals an ugly spectre of inexcusable compromise with national security and an unforgivable trade-off with the oath of Constitution by the Prime Minister-home minister and those holding high offices,” a party statement had said.

This is the first CWC after the farmers’ stir against agri-laws and the chat leak came out in public domain. Two CWC members said that these two issues are of vital importance to the nation as they relate to food security and national security and the CWC is likely to come out with a statement on these.

The CWC meeting might also consider the upcoming assembly elections in four states and the time required for the party’s election authority (CEA) to prepare the ground for internal elections, before drawing up a schedule for the latter, which could see the election of a new president.

The meeting is being closely watched both by the old guard, including the 23 signatories to an August letter to party president Sonia Gandhi seeking sweeping changes in the Congress’ functioning, as well as the young Turks, mainly leaders allied with former party president Rahul Gandhi.

The signatories of the letter are waiting to see how the meeting tries to address the issues they raised. “We also want the Bihar election results taken up for discussion in the CWC,” said one of the letter-writers. The Congress fared poorly in the election, winning 19 of the 70 seats it contested.

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