Congress Working Committee authorises Rahul Gandhi to forge alliances with like-minded parties

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New Delhi | Published: July 22, 2018 10:53:20 PM

The reconstituted Congress Working Committee today authorised party president Rahul Gandhi to forge alliances with "like-minded" political parties for the 2019 Lok Sabha election to take on the ruling BJP.

Congress, Congress Working Committee, CWC, Rahul Gandhi, 2019 Lok Sabha electionThe decision to authorise Rahul Gandhi was taken at an over five-hour meeting of the extended working committee attended by CWC members, Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs and Congress Legislature Party leaders.

The reconstituted Congress Working Committee today authorised party president Rahul Gandhi to forge alliances with “like-minded” political parties for the 2019 Lok Sabha election to take on the ruling BJP. The decision to authorise Rahul Gandhi was taken at an over five-hour meeting of the extended working committee attended by CWC members, Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs and Congress Legislature Party leaders. The CWC – the party’s highest decision-making body – was reconstituted on Tuesday with a blend of young and old leaders. Rahul Gandhi had, however, dropped veteran leaders such as Digvijay Singh, Janardan Dwivedi and Kamal Nath from the CWC while including A K Antony, Ahmed Patel and Ambika Soni.

Today, the party also authorised Rahul Gandhi to constitute a committee to work out alliances with other parties that could unseat the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot said the CWC has authorised Rahul Gandhi to take a decision on forging alliances with other political parties for the election. “Rahul ji has been authorised to a committee and take decisions on pre-poll and post-poll alliances,” he said. The CWC decisions make apparent that the opposition party is willing to go for separate alliances in the states. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the important point discussed at the meeting was to seek a larger goal for the party in 2019.

“For the 2019 polls, the fight for the Congress party is not against any individual, but against an ideology, that is the ideology of suppression and subjugation, denigration and humiliation, both of institutions and sections of people. “That ideology must be fought and India must be put back on the path of progress, peaceful co-existence, mutual cohabitation and harmony,” he said. Surjewala said the CWC decided that wherever an alliance has to be formed, there will be “real-time negotiations” and “some give and take”. “Alliances can never be fought on rigidity or on absolute stands and that is why the Congress president will decide on this and take a call,” he told reporters.

During the meeting, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said the Congress was committed to forming alliances with “like-minded parties to defeat the BJP”. “We are committed to make alliances work and we are all with Congress president Rahul Gandhi in this endeavour. We have to rescue our people from a dangerous regime that is compromising the democracy of India,” Sonia Gandhi said in her address.

“Expansion of our party vote base is one of our biggest tasks. In each constituency, we have to find people who have not voted for us and develop a strategy to reach out to them and win back their trust,” Rahul Gandhi said at the meeting. Surjewala said the CWC made it clear that the party would not compromise on national interest and its ideology. It would “with an open mind” form alliances on state-to-state basis to “save democracy” and to protect interests of the country and its people, he said. Asked if Rahul Gandhi would lead any such alliance at the national level, Surjewala said the Congress has its presence across India and it expects to better its performance in the next general election.

“The people of India will decide this, but naturally, the Congress party will be leading the alliance and the Congress president will be the only face to be projected,” he said. Gehlot claimed an atmosphere of distrust was being created in the country due to the politics of hate and anger. More than 35 Congress leaders spoke at the conclave and stressed that the party should play the lead role in forging an anti-BJP front. Some leaders said Rahul Gandhi, being the leader of the principal opposition party, should be the face of a national alliance. On this issue, Ambika Soni said, “Naturally, he is the leader of the main national (opposition) party and we would want our leader to be the face of the opposition alliance.”

Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram gave a detailed presentation on how the party can be strengthened with the help of allies in various states. Party sources said Chidambaram highlighted that the Congress is strong in 12 states and it can triple its current strength of 48 members in Lok Sabha with help from allies. According to the sources, Chidambaram said the Congress can even touch the 300-mark if it forms formidable alliances with regional and national political parties in various states.

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