Congress Working Committee meet on Jan 22 with eye on party polls
Five months after the Congress’ interim president Sonia Gandhi asked the party to relieve her from the top post, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) will meet on Friday to draw up a schedule for the long-pending organisational elections that could also pick a new party chief, people aware of the developments said on Wednesday.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi is widely preferred within the party to replace Sonia Gandhi as efforts to pick a non-Gandhi party president have not succeeded in the past two years ago. Sonia Gandhi offered to step down at a CWC meet last August following a letter by more than 20 prominent party leaders that demanded an “active, full-time and visible” president.
“It will be a meeting of the full CWC,” a senior Congress leader said on condition of anonymity. The meet will include 19 members, 26 permanent invitees and nine special invitees other than the Congress president.
No agenda, however, has been circulated so far for the meeting that will begin at 10.30am on Friday, according to the person quoted above. But party insiders pointed out that during the eventful meeting of CWC in August last year, it was decided that the next meeting will be held within six months to decide on the elections. “Next meeting will be called soon, probably within next six months, to elect new chief. Till then, Sonia Gandhi agreed to remain interim president,” PL Punia, a member of CWC, the top executive body of the Congress, had said in August.
When the CWC met last on August 23, Sonia Gandhi asked her party colleagues to begin the process of selecting her successor. Her letter, which was read out to those attending, said: “In the interest of the party, I ask CWC to begin deliberations to put in place the process of transition to relieve me of my duties.” More than four party leaders said that while the election isn’t on the agenda formally, it will feature as one of the major issues that the CWC will take up.
A leader, however, said that the meeting is also likely to have a threadbare discussion on national security in the backdrop of the situation in Ladakh where troops of India and China are locked in a boundary standoff.
The CWC meeting also comes just days before the all-important budget session of Parliament.