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AICC 84th plenary session: Party authorises Rahul Gandhi to constitute Congress Working Committee

The Congress plenary on Sunday authorised party president Rahul Gandhi to constitute the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

Congress president Rahul Gandhi during the second day of the 84th Congress Plenary Session in New Delhi. PTI

The proposal was adopted with a consensus by raising of hands. Taking up the proposal, party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that in the history of the Congress, election to the CWC had been held only about a dozen times.

Most of the times, it has been left to the Congress president to constitute the CWC. The Congress president had formed a steering committee to function instead of the Congress Working Committee for the plenary session.

According to NDTV, party leaders believe that Gandhi preferred elections over a nomination for the CWC, which is the Grand Old Party’s top decision-making panel. The report adds that the Congress’ constitution stipulates half of the CWC, which has about 20 members, must be elected. The remaining half can be nominated by the party president.

The party’s 84th plenary session began in New Delhi on Saturday. Seeking to halt the BJP’s juggernaut led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress rolled out a roadmap for reversing its downward electoral journey and restoring its past glory ahead of the upcoming elections.

The plenary, Gandhi’s first such session since his elevation to the chief designation, will focus on workers as part of the leader’s bid to strengthen party “organisationally”. According to IANS, workers who got a chance to speak in front of party’s top leadership even expressed their gratitude to Gandhi for making the event “worker-centric”.

Besides the functioning of the CWC, Congress discussed a slew of other issues at the two-day session. The party slammed the Modi government’s foreign policy, saying it was “confused” and conducted in a “cavalier manner” which has damaged India’s profile globally. The party, in a resolution adopted at the plenary, accused the NDA government of pursuing a foreign policy “bereft of focus and direction”.

The foreign policy resolution was moved by Congress leader Anand Sharma. It slammed the Centre for its “disastrous” Pakistan policy. The resolution also stated, “The claims of a more effective and assertive policy towards Pakistan are boastful and have not yielded any positive results.”

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh also launched a scathing attack on the NDA government, accusing it of having “messed up” the economy and mismanaging the dispute in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The BJP-led government messed up the Indian economy. The ill-considered demonetisation and hastily implemented GST have destroyed small-scale enterprises,” Singh said. “The government mismanaged the Jammu and Kashmir dispute like never before. The atmosphere in the state has been deteriorating day by day,” he added.

At the plenary, Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram described demonetisation as the “greatest lie” and said it ended up destroying jobs. He also accused the Centre of pushing people into poverty by implementing a flawed Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Rahul Gandhi will be presenting the party’s vision document at the session, which will set the tone for its poll strategy in the Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections where it seeks to oust the BJP from power. Referring to the Congress’ symbol of the hand, Gandhi has said on Saturday, “This is the symbol that holds the country together, shows us the way, and will take India forward.”

The BJP has already slammed the speeches of Congress president and his predecessor Sonia Gandhi at the plenary, calling it “stale rhetoric” which has been “rejected repeatedly” by the people.

With inputs from agencies

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