Rahul Gandhi constitutes Congress Working Committee, convenes first meeting on July 22

The new Congress Working Committee (CWC) includes 23 members, 19 permanent invitees and 9 special invitees
Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses the media in New Delhi, India.(HT File Photo)
Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses the media in New Delhi, India.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Jul 17, 2018 11:12 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAurangzeb Naqshbandi

Seven months after he took over the reins of the Congress, the party’s president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday reconstituted the Congress Working Committee (CWC), inducting a mix of experienced politicians and youthful faces in the party’s highest decision-making body.

The 51-member panel, including the main 23-member CWC, 18 permanent invitees and 10 special invitees, replaces the steering committee formed after the previous CWC was dissolved on February 16. Apart from Gandhi, his mother and predecessor Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the 23-member CWC includes senior leaders, often referred to as the ‘Old Guard’ in party circles, like Motilal Vora, Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad and AK Antony.

The new additions include former chief ministers Oommen Chandy (Kerala), Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Siddaramaiah (Karnataka) and Harish Rawat (Uttarakhand), Anand Sharma, Kumari Selja, Tamradhwaj Sahu, Raghuveer Meena, Avinash Pande and Gaikhangam Gangmei.

The average age of the 23 members in the CWC is a little over 68. But if Gandhi has accommodated the seniors in the core CWC, he has fused it with the younger leaders by giving them space among permanent invitees.

Besides former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and former finance minister P Chidambaram, the permanent invitees now include party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia and former People’s Democratic Party leader Tariq Hameed Karra.

The CWC also has politicians in charge of states such as Jitendra Singh (Odisha), RPN Singh (Jharkhand), Rajeev Satav (Gujarat), Shaktisinh Gohil (Bihar) and Gaurav Gogoi (West Bengal). Randeep Singh Surjewala, in-charge of the communication department, stays on as a permanent invitee.

The significant omissions include former general secretaries Digvijaya Singh, Janardan Dwivedi, CP Joshi, BK Hariprasad, Mohan Prakash, Mohsina Kidwai and Sushil Kumar Shinde besides Karan Singh, Oscar Fernandes and RK Dhawan.

Congress chief ministers, including Punjab CM Amrinder Singh, and state chiefs such as Kamal Nath and Sachin Pilot, have not been included as per norm. They will, however, be a part of the extended CWC and attend the body’s first meeting on July 22 along with the heads of Congress legislature parties in the states.

As per the Congress constitution, 12 of the 25 CWC members have to be elected by delegates to the All India Congress Committee (AICC), the party’s central assembly, and the rest are appointed by the party chief. The committee also has permanent and special invitees without any restriction on the number.

The party’s 84th plenary session in March that ratified the election of 48-year-old Gandhi election as the Congress president also authorised Gandhi to reconstitute the CWC.

Younger leaders also find representation among special invitees. The list includes Jitin Prasada, Deepender Hooda, Arun Yadav and Kuldeep Bishnoi besides the heads of party frontal organisations.

The CWC has six women. There are three Muslims and five Dalits in the panel.

Among the states with high representation are Maharashtra (5), Uttar Pradesh (4) and Haryana (4). While Jammu and Kashmir has two members, the North-east is represented by three members. Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have not been represented.

“The new CWC is an ideal blend of experience, maturity and youthful energy. This CWC will prove to be a catalyst for transformation of the Congress and driving the party to victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” Surjewala said.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021