By Priyale Chandra
Newly elected Congress President Rahul Gandhi will chair his first meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on 22 December 2017. While no agenda of the meeting has been officially disclosed, speculations are rife about the possible topics that will be discussed.
Assembly election results in Gujarat
The CWC is likely to discuss the recent assembly election results of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, focussing on the party’s resurgence in the BJP led Gujarat. The CWC might discuss issues like the choice of the opposition leader in the states, the future political strategy, both in case of Gujarat and at the national level will be discussed in all likelihood.
Strategy for the Winter Session in Parliament
Another probable issue will be functioning of the Parliament in the Winter Session. The Congress protests over Prime Minister Modi’s remarks on Manmohan Singh have disrupted the Winter Session of the Parliament. The Rajya Sabha, where the Opposition is in the majority, has been adjourned till 27th December. The Congress continues to demand an apology from PM Modi for questioning the former Prime Minister’s patriotism. While campaigning for the Gujarat elections, Modi had questioned Manmohan Singh about a meeting with Pakistan officials and diplomats, pitching it as an attempt by Pakistan to meddle in Indian elections.
2G Scam verdict
Former UPA ministers A Raja and Kanimozhi were acquitted of all charges by a special court in the 2G scam on 20th December. The Congress might plan its future media strategy along the verdict. Manmohan Singh said, “The judgement speaks for itself”, calling the charges against the UPA in the scam as “massive propaganda” without any foundation.
In the 2014 general election, the Bharatiya Janta Party had taken up the 2G and coal allocation scam as major points against the ruling UPA alliance. The Congress was portrayed as a party mired in corruption and scams. Till date, the Congress struggles with remaking this image. The 2G verdict offers a chance to reshape the party’s future. Congress is planning to publicize the verdict, playing up the charges as baseless propaganda that was spread against them. There are rumours that a draft resolution for the same might be passed in the CWC meeting.
Assembly Elections in 2018
Riding on the high of their recent performance in Gujarat, the Congress might discuss the upcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka next year. While the first three are BJP ruled states where the Congress will benefit from an anti-incumbency factor, Karnataka will see the Congress struggle to retain its government for a second consecutive term. The approach to these elections might also be discussed in the CWC meeting.
Why is the CWC meeting important?
The CWC meeting is important because it is Rahul Gandhi’s first meeting after his elevation as Congress President. The agenda for the meeting will reflect what he believes are the key issues the Congress needs to focus on. Moreover, the agenda will also indicate Rahul Gandhi’s plans for the 2019 general elections. It will also be linked to his personal image, both as a former reluctant leader and as a recent aggressive orator.
The political prospect of the Congress party is dependent on Rahul Gandhi’s leadership. Right now, the party might be feeling resurgent after the Gujarat results. But it is still struggling to rebrand itself and regain power. The CWC meeting is the first step towards determining not just Gandhi’s leadership skills but the future of the party itself.
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