Amid growing inhouse tension and escalating war between the old guards and the young leaders, the meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which was scheduled to take place on Saturday, has been cancelled.
According to sources, there were two important agenda for the CWC to take a call on. One, the highest-decision making body of the Congress was to put a stamp of approval on extending the term of interim party president Sonia Gandhi. However, as per the party constitution, Sonia Gandhi could continue on this post till the next organisational elections. The second important issue which the CWC would have discussed was about giving impetus to the party’s membership drive.
With this, the CWC was to make it clear that change of guard was not going to take place in the Congress for now. This would go a long way in reviving the party at the grassroots level, say sources.
If the meeting had taken place, the CWC would have come out with a statement attacking the Modi government for the current “bad situation” of the country. But the meeting was called off all of a sudden, with no new date having been fixed as of now.
Though the Congress is silent on the fate of CWC meet, the party insiders briefed The Daily Guardian on what led to sudden cancellation of the meeting.
This time round, invitations had been sent to nonregular members of the CWC, such as invitees, chief of frontal organisations and some PCC and CLP leaders. If sources are to be believed, these irregulars were invited even before intimation to the old guards. The CWC meeting was to be held via videoconferencing. So, it would be easy also for them to attend the meeting from their places. As most of the irregulars have been appointed by Rahul Gandhi, their presence would have increased the numerical strength in favour of him. This support, in that case, would have been important for two reasons. First, they would pitch for Rahul Gandhi’s return to the party’s helm. Second, they would be there to defend Rahul against any attack by old guards. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi cannot be oblivious to how a bunch of old guards had targeted him in the last CWC meeting and during interaction with the Rajya Sabha members.
In the past, these veterans had called on Sonia Gandhi expressing their concern over the declining graph of the party. Sources believe that they were actually preparing ground to target Rahul Gandhi again in the CWC meet which was to be held on Saturday. And they would have succeeded in their plan as oldies are more in numbers in the 22-member CWC.
Apart from Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, other members of the CWC are Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel, A.K. Antony, Oommen Chandy, Ambika Soni, Harish Rawat, Motilal Vora, Luizinho Faleiro, Raghuveer Meena, Tarun Gogoi, Mukul Wasnik, Adhir Ranjan Choudhary, Mallikarjuna Kharge, Tamradwaj Sahu, Ajay Maken, Anand Sharma, Gaikhangam Gangmei, and K.C. Venugopal. Most of these members are veterans and have been targeting Rahul on one count or the other. That’s why irregulars (nonregular members) had been invited this time who are all said to be Rahul Gandhi’s hand-picked.
The Congress insiders say that if CWC had been held, it would have seen massive spat between the old guards and young leaders as was indicated. Sensing the storm, the meet was called off suddenly.
Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi can continue as interim president till December 2022 as per the party constitution. The organisational election is to take place after five years which is in December 2022. Rahul Gandhi had been anointed party president in 2017 and that time the party amended the constitution extending the term of the chief from three years to five years. Rahul had resigned as president 20 months after taking over the post, which was followed by Sonia Gandhi becoming interim president on 10 August 2019. A letter had been sent to the ECI informing it that Sonia would continue to be party’s interim president till the election of new president. According to information, the Congress will again send an intimation to the ECI about the same.