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New Congress chief in June: CWC after spat | India News

New Congress chief in June: CWC after spat | India News 2

NEW DELHI: The Congress Working Committee (CWC) overpowered resistance from a group of seniors to set June-end as the deadline for electing a full-time party president who will take over the reins from interim chief Sonia Gandhi.
The June 30 cut-off for holding the delayed exercise, which has been set keeping in view the forthcoming elections in five states, met with strong opposition from a group of dissenters, resulting in an acrimonious exchange between two sections of party veterans.

New Congress chief in June: CWC after spat | India News 3

Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Mukul Wasnik, all part of the dissident grouping G-23, joined forces with former finance minister P Chidambaram and demanded that election for the party president be held immediately. They also demanded elections for seats on the CWC and the Congress election committee.The insistence led to acrimonious exchanges with another group of seniors. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot strongly countered the push for early polls by arguing that preparations for the coming battles in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry should take precedence. He was supported by his counterparts from Punjab and Chhattisgarh, Amarinder Singh and Bhupesh Baghel, respectively, as well as veterans like A K Antony, Ambika Soni and former Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat.
Rahul Gandhi did not express his views on the timeframe, even though he agreed that it was time election was held. It was time that the issue was “finished, once and for all” and the party “moved on”, sources quoted him as saying.
Gehlot was the most aggressive in countering the demand for polls and is learnt to have singled out Anand Sharma for obstructing the plan to keep the poll in abeyance until June. “What right do those who were the biggest beneficiaries of power during the UPA era despite never being elected have to demand internal elections,” a source quoted the Rajasthan CM as bluntly telling Sharma.
He also said the party had bigger issues to deal with and reminded dissenters of the high posts they had held because of the trust the Gandhi family had in them.
Sharma, party insiders said, protested strongly against Gehlot’s show of aggression and “name calling”, at which point Rahul stepped in to assert that arguments forwarded by both Gehlot and Sharma were on “two extreme ends” of the discussion.
At a press briefing after the CWC meeting, general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal clarified that typically, elections to the CWC were held after the election of the party president. “So, we have to go back to the party’s constitution to see whether elections for the president and the CWC can be held together. We will look into this and announce the schedule soon. One thing is certain, everything will be done in keeping with the Congress constitution,” he said.
The CWC, which began with Sonia’s address, saw her highlight key issues that will tailor Congress’s parliamentary strategy in the upcoming budget session. She said there were “many pressing issues of public concern” that would need to be debated and discussed in Parliament. Referring to the three agri laws and the farm protests, Sonia said the government had shown “shocking insensitivity and arrogance” and was “going through the charade of consultations”.
“It is abundantly clear that the three laws were prepared in haste and Parliament was consciously denied an opportunity for examining in any meaningful details their implications and impacts. Our position has been very clear from the very beginning: we reject them categorically because they will destroy the foundations of food security that are based on the three pillars of MSP, public procurement and PDS,” she said.
Later, the CWC passed resolutions on three issues of national importance, lending its unequivocal support to farmers demanding repeal of the three agri laws, thanking scientists and researchers for developing the Covid-19 vaccine in such a short period of time and appealing to people to come forward for vaccination, and the third in which it said it would demand a Joint Parliamentary Committee to inquire into journalist Arnab Goswami’s WhatsApp chats, which revealed he was privy to sensitive details of the Balakot air strikes before they took place.

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