Congress president Rahul Gandhi is expected to opt for a mix of youth and experience in the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body, which will be reconstituted soon.
For the past few days, Gandhi has been giving the final touches to the CWC line-up along with party general secretary in charge of the organisation, Ashok Gehlot, and the list could be announced anytime now, a Congress leader familiar with the developments said.
On Wednesday, the Congress president also held a detailed discussion on the subject with his mother and the party’s former president Sonia Gandhi.
The leader cited above said on condition of anonymity that some of the party general secretaries including Digvijaya Singh, Janardan Dwivedi and Sushil Kumar Shinde, who were dropped in the piecemeal reshuffle over the past several months are likely to be accommodated in the CWC.
Apart from Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Gehlot, and senior leaders Motilal Vora, Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni and Mukul Wasnik, the panel will also include newly inducted general secretaries, including Mallikarjun Kharge, Oommen Chandy, Avinash Pande, KC Venugopal and Dipak Babaria and leaders in charge of different states such as Asha Kumari, RPN Singh, Shaktisinh Gohil , PL Punia, Jitendra Singh, Gaurav Gogoi and Rajeev Satav.
As per the Congress Constitution, 12 of the 25 CWC members have to be elected by delegates to the All India Congress Committee (AICC), the party’s central assembly, and the rest are appointed by the party chief. The committee also has permanent and special invitees without any restriction on the number.
The previous CWC was dissolved just before the party’s 84th plenary session at Delhi in March this year and converted into a steering committee to function till the reconstitution of the panel.
The term of the steering committee expires in six months. “There is no constitutional crisis. The Congress president has time till September to reconstitute the new CWC,” said another party functionary, also on condition of anonymity.
At the plenary that ratified the election of 48-year-old Gandhi election as the Congress president, the 2,000-odd AICC delegates unanimously authorised him to reconstitute the CWC.
On December 16 last year, Rahul took over the reins of the grand old party from Sonia Gandhi, who remained at the helm continuously for more than 19 years since 1998.
In the history of the 132-year-old Congress party, elections to the CWC have been held only about a dozen times. For the past two decades now, the CWC has not witnessed any election.
The last time such polls were held was during the Kolkata plenary in 1997 with Sitaram Kesri as the party president. Before that, elections were held during P.V. Narasimha Rao’s tenure at the Tirupati session in 1992 after a gap of about two decades.
Sonia Gandhi once listed the difficulties she faced in constituting the CWC. “Nominating CWC is not an easy task. Somebody will complain that he has been left out and why the other was taken. Somewhere someone will be left out.”
Political observers said that although the exercise has been delayed, Rahul Gandhi has already indicated with the recent appointments at the national level that he will take along both the old guard and GenNext of the party.
“He will also have to strike a regional balance in his new team. The dDemographic scenario cannot be ignored and the proportion (between old and young) has to be maintained and that is the right way to go about it,” said Delhi-based political analyst N Bhaskara Rao.