Revival plan National

Cong. sets up Empowered Action Group for 2024 polls

File photo of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. | Photo Credit: PTI

After deliberating upon the report of the eight-member Congress panel that examined poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s revival plan, party president Sonia Gandhi on Monday decided to set up an Empowered Action Group to deal with the political challenges ahead of the 2024 elections.

The party also formally announced the dates for the Navsankalp Chintan Shivir (brainstorming session) in Udaipur between May 13 and 15 where over 400 leaders and workers are expected to debate on the way forward in the run up to 2024.

But the party kept up the suspense on Mr. Kishor’s formal entry into the party after resentment from some senior leaders and its Telangana unit over the election strategist’s firm, Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), singing up to manage the poll campaign of arch rival Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

When asked if Mr Kishor would be a member of the Empowered Group, party general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “We will let you know once the Congress President constitutes it”. Sources, however, told this reporter that the Gandhis are talking to the poll strategist and he is likely to be part of the Empowered Group once he formally joins. But several leaders wanted Ms Gandhi to clearly define Mr Kishor’s role and limits.

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Ms. Gandhi also constituted six coordination panels for drafting papers and leading discussions on the issues of political and organisational importance, social justice, economy, farmers and youth during the three-day brainstorming conclave.

Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge will lead the panel on political issues, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda will head the committee on agriculture and farmers and Mukul Wasnik will spearhead the coordination panel for organisational matters.

Both Mr Hooda and Mr Wasnik are members of the G-23, the ginger group that has been pushing for internal reforms within the party. Other G 23 leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor and Akhilesh Prasad Singh have also been made part of these six panels.

All these decisions were taken at a three-hour meeting, at Ms. Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence, that was attended by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ambika Soni, K.C. Venugopal, Randeep Surjewala, Mukul Wasnik, Digvijaya Singh, Jairam Ramesh and P. Chidambaram.

“The Navsankalp Shivir will also deliberate on the broad strategy of the Indian National Congress in the run up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections,” Mr. Surjewala said.

While Mr Kishor’s formal entry and role is expected to be clear in the next few days, several leaders want clarity on his association with I-PAC and its involvement with other parties.

Sharply reacting to the meeting between Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao and the poll strategist on Sunday, AICC’s Telangana in-charge tweeted a poster that read “Never trust someone who is friends with your enemy” and asked ,”Is this correct?”


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Printable version | Apr 26, 2022 7:47:36 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cong-sets-up-empowered-action-group-for-2024-polls/article65354613.ece