Three months after the 85th plenary session of the Congress in Raipur authorised party chief Mallikarjun Kharge to nominate new members to Congress Working Committee (CWC), it is still work in progress.
With the next Lok Sabha election less than a year away, many in the party have privately questioned the delay. They point out that Mr. Kharge was elected as the party president in October last year but even after eight months, he doesn’t have the party’s highest decision-making body in place and is functioning with the outgoing CWC or the Steering Committee.
Sources, however, told The Hindu that the delay is on account of an elaborate exercise to reflect the changes the party announced at Raipur by amending the party constitution.
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The strength of the CWC has been increased from 25 to 35 and half the positions are meant to be reserved for scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBCs), women, youth and minorities.
Within this framework, the party would seek to implement the “50 under 50” policy that was adopted in the Udaipur Conclave last year. Under the proposed policy, at least, 50% of the positions in any party panel should be given to people under 50 years of age.
“This is a massive exercise to give representation to different sections, regions, age groups and so on. Obviously, it will take some time,” a senior leader said.
Apart from the changes that are necessary because of the changes in the party constitution, there is also speculation about party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra being elevated as a vice-president along with K.C. Venugopal, who is currently the general secretary (organisation) or GSO.
If such a plan takes shape, Mr. Kharge will also have to look for a new GSO, who plays a key role in terms of coordinating with different State units.
The Congress is also yet to give shape to the two new departments that it had announced at the Udaipur Conclave: the election management department and the public feedback department.
In an election year, these two departments are meant to drive strategy to reach out to the voters on the ground.
Election strategist Sunil Kanugolu worked closely with party general secretary Randeep Surjewala in Karnataka and is now said to be focusing on poll-bound States like Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, among others. But a formal election management wing is yet to take shape.
After winning the Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka Assembly elections, the Congress has acquired a sense of urgency to change its political fortunes but it needs the right team soon to anchor its plans on the ground.