Key Congress panel headed by Manmohan Singh hasn’t met in 2 months
The last meeting of the 11-member panel was held in July, a Congress functionary said on condition of anonymity.Updated: Sep 07, 2020, 04:24 IST
A Congress consultative committee, headed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, mandated to meet every day to discuss and formulate the party’s stand on current issues, has not met for over two months, people familiar with the matter said.
The last meeting of the 11-member panel was held in July, a Congress functionary said on condition of anonymity.
“That day, the panel discussed the Chinese transgressions in eastern Ladakh and deliberated on the party’s stand on the border standoff,” said the functionary.
“There were some differences among the members on how the party should articulate its stand on the issue,” he added.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi had on April 18, in the midst of the lockdown ordered to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), constituted the group to deliberate on issues related to the pandemic and other current matters.
Apart from the former Prime Minister, the group comprises former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, general secretary in-charge of the organisation, KC Venugopal, and former union ministers P Chidambaram, Manish Tewari and Jairam Ramesh.
Other members of the group are Praveen Chakravarty, Gaurav Vallabh, Supriya Shrinate and Rohan Gupta. Surjewala is also the convenor of the group.
In a press release, the party had then said the consultative committee will meet virtually every day to deliberate on matters of current concern and formulate the party’s stand on various issues.
The panel was also supposed to give suggestions to the government on health and economic challenges in the wake of the outbreak of Covid-19.
In the past, the group discussed the revival of micro, small and medium enterprises, crop procurement, issues related to migrant workers, the lockdown exit strategy and the state of the economy.
A member of the committee said on condition of anonymity that the panel could not meet after July as the party kept discussing issues through other forums.
“This panel was formed to strategise the party’s response to current issues during the Covid-19 times,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Congress would formulate its strategy for the monsoon session of Parliament, beginning September 14, at a meeting on Tuesday.
The meeting will be attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh, KC Venugopal, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Gaurav Gogoi, K Suresh, Manickam Tagore and Ravneet Singh Bittu.
This will be the first time that some of the 23 signatories to a letter to the party president seeking a complete overhaul of the organisation will come face-to-face with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi after the stormy Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on August 24.
Four out of the 23 signatories who are CWC members – Azad, Sharma, Mukul Wasnik and Jitin Prasada – came under fire from other colleagues at the meeting for writing the letter.
After chairing the meeting, Sonia Gandhi, who is also the chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP), is likely to travel abroad for a routine health check-up, a party leader said.