Congress strategises on key issues ahead of PM’s meeting with party chiefs

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Published: June 18, 2019 2:25:40 PM

The meeting has been called to discuss the "one nation, one election" issue, celebration of the 75 years of Independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary this year.

Sources said the meeting, chaired by Congress Parliamentary Party leader Sonia Gandhi and attended by Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh (PTI File photo)Sources said the meeting, chaired by Congress Parliamentary Party leader Sonia Gandhi and attended by Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh (PTI File photo)

A meeting of the Congress top brass, including Sonia Gandhi and party chief Rahul Gandhi, was held here to decide the strategy on key matters such as Lok Sabha speaker’s election and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to discuss the ‘one nation, one election’ issue. Sources said the meeting, chaired by Congress Parliamentary Party leader Sonia Gandhi and attended by Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, discussed the strategy to be adopted by the party during the meeting called by the prime minister. Senior Congress leaders A K Antony, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh, K Suresh, and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, were among those present at the meeting held at Sonia Gandhi’s residence 10, Janpath.

Modi has invited heads of all parties who have an MP either in Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha for a meeting on Wednesday. The meeting has been called to discuss the “one nation, one election” issue, celebration of the 75 years of Independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary this year. It will be followed by a dinner-meeting with all MPs on June 20. The strategy for the dinner-meeting was also discussed at the Congress meeting, sources said. The Congress top brass also deliberated on the issue of Lok Sabha speaker’s election.

Asked about two-time BJP MP Om Birla being the NDA nominee for the speaker’s post, Chowdhury, speaking to reporters after the meeting, said: “No problem, we won’t oppose anyone’s name.” Birla, who won from Kota-Bundi parliamentary seat in Rajasthan, will easily become the speaker as the National Democratic Alliance has a clear majority in the lower house. Chowdhury also said the issue of appointment of the leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha was not discussed at the meeting.

Along with Chowdhury, Kerala unit working president K Suresh, party spokesperson Manish Tewari and Thiruvanathapuram MP Shashi Tharoor are in the running for the post, sources said. They said a decision on the issue of Congress’s leader in Lok Sabha will be taken soon by Sonia Gandhi. On Prime Minister Modi’s appeal to the Opposition that it should not worry about numbers, Chowdhury said: “That is the core essence of democracy. Democracy is not determined only by numbers, it is determined by opinion, discussions and dialogue.”

If the statements of the prime minister are conveyed to his juniors or his partymen then it will be beneficial for all, Chowdhury said, adding what Modi preaches, most of the time, it is not implemented by his own party leaders. Prime Minister Modi on Monday assured the Opposition that their every word is “valuable” to the government irrespective of their “numbers”, and asked it to actively speak in Parliament.

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