Congress president Rahul Gandhi has formed a Steering Committee for the upcoming Plenary Session of the party. The Committee with 34 members will function in place of the Congress Working Committee, which had just 21 members.
The members of the steering committee are: Rahul Gandhi , Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni, BK Hari Prasad, CP Joshi, Digvijay Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Hemo Prova Saikia, Janardan Dwivedi, Kamal Nath, Mohan Prakash, Motilal Vora, Mukul Vasnik, Sushila Tiriya, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ashok Gehlot, KC Venugopal, Avinash Pande, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Deepak Babaria, PC Chacko, Asha Kumari, A Chella Kumar, RPN Singh, PL Punia, RC Khuntal, Karan Singh, P Chidambaram, Oscar Fernandes, Anand Sharma, Randeep Singh Surjewala.
Rahul’s Steering Committee has 13 new names that were not part of the CWC formed by Sonia. These include Deepak Babaria, PC Chacko, Asha Kumari, A Chella Kumar, RPN Singh, PL Punia, RC Khuntal, Karan Singh, P Chidambaram, Oscar Fernandes, Anand Sharma, Randeep Singh Surjewala.
It is believed that an internal restructuring of power centres within the Congress party is underway and some of the old guards of the party are likely to be relegated to the advisory role while Rahul will keep his own team to run the show in the build-up to 2019 General elections.
The Delhi Confidential column in The Indian Express today said the agenda of Saturday meeting is to decide the date and venue of the AICC plenary meeting, which is necessary to be called to ratify the election of the new party president. Just a day before the meeting, the old CWC has been replaced by an expanded team. Interestingly, old names in the CWC continue to remain while 13 new names have been introduced.
In past, the Congress president had express desire to hold elections to the CWC, which was never held during around two-decade reign of his mother at the top seat of the party. She preferred to select, not elect the CWC. With the announcement of the new steering committee, it seems Rahul has chosen the tried and tested method of his mother to control the party.
The Steering Committee will meet in Delhi on Saturday.
After an improved performance in the recently-held Gujarat assembly elections and sweep in Rajasthan by-elections, Congress party is sensing revival before the next year’s Lok Sabha elections. Much will depend on how Rahul’s old and new guards gel together in their bid to oust BJP from the Centre in 2019.