Raipur: The Congress’ 85th plenary session got underway on Friday with a meeting of the party’s steering committee during which the crucial decision on holding CWC polls would be taken. The party is expected to take key decisions during the three-day session that would lay out a clear roadmap for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and finalise the strategy for forging poll tie-ups with like-minded parties to take on the BJP.
The Congress top brass will be in attendance at the plenary session that will primarily endorse the presidentship of Mallikarjun Kharge and pave the way for the new working committee led by him. Notably, former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi will not be attending the meeting on Friday, state reports. The decision to stay away comes as the Gandhis want to give the new party president Mallikarjun Kharge a free hand and not influence the outcomes of the session in any way. They will, however, attend the rest of the conclave.
85th Plenary Session of the Congress party led by party president Mallikarjun Kharge gets underway in Raipur, Chhattisgarh pic.twitter.com/WfRKsA24IO
— ANI MP/CG/Rajasthan (@ANI_MP_CG_RJ) February 24, 2023
The session, which comes in the backdrop of the Bharat Jodo Yatra that has been touted as a success by the party, will be attended by around 15,000 delegates. On the first day of the three-day session, the steering committee, which is playing the role of the Working Committee (the previous one was dissolved until a new CWC is formed), will meet at 10 am this morning and decide on whether there will be elections to the top decision-making body or not.
Asked whether polls will be held for the Congress Working Committee (CWC) seats, Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday, ‘The steering committee will decide on it tomorrow. This matter will certainly come up during the steering committee meeting I can’t say anything about it today’. He, however, added that as per the party’s constitution, the steering committee will decide on it. ‘But we are ready for the (CWC) polls, all preparations have been made. If the decision is in favour of the polls, then elections will take place’, Ramesh said at a press conference.
Giving details of the programme at the plenary, Ramesh had said there will be a meeting of the steering committee at 10 am Friday after which there will be a meeting of the subjects committee at 4 pm the same day in which six resolutions will be considered. ‘These resolutions will be discussed on February 25 and 26. On February 25, resolutions related to political, economic and international matters will be discussed and on February 26, resolutions related to agriculture and farmers’ welfare; social justice and empowerment; and youth, employment and education will be discussed’, Ramesh said. On February 26, there will be a speech by the Congress President at 2 pm and a public meeting will be held at 4 pm, he had said.
The plenary session comes at a time when the Congress faces unprecedented challenges electorally and even to its primacy in the Opposition bloc. While the Congress hopes to stitch an anti-BJP front for 2024 polls having said that it alone has the moral and the organisational power to lead it, clouds of disunity are hovering over it. The TMC, BRS and AAP appear reluctant to accept the Congress stewardship and BRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao has been holding his own parleys to rein in the BJP.
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