NEW DELHI: A special group within the Congress will be set up to discuss probable alliances for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, party chief Rahul Gandhi said. The extended CWC on Sunday authorised Rahul to forge an alliance with like-minded parties for the 2019 Lok Sabha election to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"We are setting up a group that is going to do that (alliance)," Rahul said after the Congress Working Committee meeting on Sunday. The Congress on Sunday authorised Rahul to constitute a committee to work out alliances with various national and regional parties to form a grand national alliance.
During the CWC, he said that the expansion of the party's vote base is one of the biggest tasks. "In each constituency, we have to find people who have not voted for us and develop a strategy to reach out to them and win back their trust," he said.
"In the short term, we can come together with other parties and win the coming elections. After that, the damage done by the BJP & RSS to India's institutions will have to be undone. Only the Congress can do this," Rahul said.
Thirty-five to 40 leaders spoke at today's meeting where they all stressed that the Congress should play a lead role in forging an anti-BJP front. Some leaders said Rahul being the leader of the principle opposition party should be the face of the national alliance.
Senior party leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram gave a detailed presentation on how the party could be strengthened with the help of allies in various states. Chidambaram reportedly highlighted that the Congress is strong in 12 states and with the help of its allies, it can forge a formidable front for the next general election.
Earlier in the day, former Congress President Sonia Gandhi also said that the party is committed to make alliances work and will provide support to Rahul in the endeavour. Addressing the first meeting of the extended CWC, constituted by Rahul, Sonia said that democracy was being compromised under the current government.
Reaching out to the opposition parties, the UPA chairperson said, “We are committed to make alliances work and we are all with him (Rahul Gandhi) in this endeavour. We have to rescue our people from a dangerous regime that is compromising the democracy of India.”
She further pointed out that “rhetoric of Prime Minister Modi shows his desperation, reflecting that reverse countdown of Modi government had begun”.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh also addressed the gathering. He said that the need of the hour was to restore India’s social harmony and economic development, adding that the party would fully support Rahul Gandhi in the endeavour.
According to Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, the former Prime Minister "rejected culture of constant self praise and jumlas of Prime Minister Modi as against solid policy framework for driving engine of growth".
"The claim of doubling farm income by 2022 will require an Agri Growth Rate of 14%, which is nowhere in sight," said Singh.