Gandhi has also convened the first meeting of the extended CWC on July 22 to chalk out the party's future strategy. The meeting will include all state unit presidents and Congress Legislative Party leaders from states.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi undertook a major rejig of the all-important Congress Working Committee (CWC) seven months after taking over the reins of the party from his mother and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi. There have been some noticeable exclusions as Gandhi appears to have opted for a mix of youth and experience which will likely to shape up the party’s strategy in the Lok Sabha 2019 elections.
Gandhi has also convened the first meeting of the extended CWC on July 22 to chalk out the party’s future strategy. The meeting will include all state unit presidents and Congress Legislative Party leaders from states. The CWC, which acts as an advisory panel on all key decisions of the party, was not in place since the plenary session in March.
The size of CWC
The new Congress Working Committee (CWC) includes 23 regular members, 19 permanent invitees and nine special invitees. Ironically, the party which is seeking 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies, has only three women among the regular members.
Veterans face axe
In the newly constituted Congress Working Committee, Gandhi has dropped veterans Digvijay Singh, Janardan Dwivedi, Kamal Nath, Sushilkumar Shinde and Karan Singh from the party’s highest decision-making body. However, the Congress chief has included other veterans like A K Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni, Motilal Vora, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Anand Sharma and Kumari Selja.
CMs and ex-CMs out
Present and former chief ministers are prominent absentees in the rejigged CWC. None of the incumbent chief ministers of the Congress — Punjab’s Amarinder Singh, Puducherry’s V Narayanasamy and Mizoram’s Lal Thanhawla — have been inducted. Singh was earlier a permanent invitee to the body. Other prominent exclusions are former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh and party veterans Mohan Prakash, Oscar Fernandes, C P Joshi and Mohsina Kidwai.
The new faces
Among the new faces are Mukul Wasnik, Avinash Pande, KC Venugopal, Dipak Babaraia, Tamradhwaj Sahu, Gaikhangam and Ashok Gehlot, whom Gandhi has also appointed party general secretaries. The permanent invitees include former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, P Chidambaram, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Randeep Surjewala, Balasaheb Thorat, Tariq Hameed Karra and P C Chacko.
The new Congress chief has also included all AICC secretaries in-charge of different states – Jitendra Singh, RPN Singh, PL Punia, Asha Kumari, Rajni Patil, Ram Chandra Khuntia, Anugrah Narayan Singh, Rajeev S Satav, Shaktisinh Gohil, Gaurav Gogoi and A Chella Kumar – as permanent invitees. However, they will only be ex-officio members of the panel.
Among the special invitees to the CWC include KH Muniyappa, Arun Yadav, Deepender Hooda, Jitin Prasada and Kuldeep Bishnoi. Besides chiefs of party’s frontal organisations INTUC, Seva Dal, Youth Congress, Mahila Congress and NSUI have also been included as ex-officio special invitees and they will also be ex-officio members.