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All eyes on Rahul Gandhi at Congress plenary

Many Congress leaders are preparing to make a formal demand to nominate Rahul Gandhi as a member of the CWC.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2006 11:42 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Many Congress leaders, especially from Uttar Pradesh, are preparing to make a formal demand to nominate Rahul Gandhi as a member of the Congress Working Committee.

CWC is the party's highest decision-making body

The demand is expected to be made at the party's 82nd plenary session beginning on Saturday.

"The country needs Reformist, Accomplished, Honest, Upcoming Leadership (RAHUL)," reads a billboard put up by the Youth Congress at a busy corner of the city.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Ambika Soni, along with central leaders Digvijay Singh and Ashok Gehlot, has suggested that the young parliamentarian, elected from Amethi, play a more active role in the party. Soni said delegates might raise the demand for his nomination to the CWC.

Though the organising committee had also invited Rahul's sister Priyanka to attend the session as a distinguished guest, the latter expressed her inability due to "prior commitments". Party sources, however, said the move was aimed at avoiding the shift of focus away from Rahul.

Amid tight security, the three-day event kicks off in the afternoon at the Gacchibowli stadium, about 10 km from the city, with a meeting of the extended CWC that will set the tone for the deliberations.

Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, several central ministers, 15 chief ministers of the Congress-ruled states, leaders of the central and state units of the party and about 12,000 delegates are attending the plenary, the first since the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power in May 2004.

"This is the first session since the Congress began heading a coalition government," said Ajit Jogi, a senior party leader and CWC member.

Coalition politics will figure in the conclave also thanks to this week's developments in Karnataka, where the Congress-lead coalition government is on the verge of collapse due to a revolt in its alliance partner Janata Dal-Secular.

The conclave's slogan, "Ateet ki neev, bhavishyaka nirman, nayi zimmedari" (the foundation of the past, nation-building and the new responsibility), encapsulates the theme of the meet that will pass a resolution on agriculture, employment and poverty alleviation, besides those on politics, economy and foreign affairs.

First Published: Jan 21, 2006 11:42 IST