Rahul Gandhi's newly constituted Congress Working Committee meets; 2019 Lok Sabha, assembly elections top agenda

The new Congress Working Committee includes 23 members, 19 permanent invitees and 9 special invitees.

Rahul Gandhi's newly constituted Congress Working Committee meets; 2019 Lok Sabha, assembly elections top agenda

NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi on Sunday chaired his first meeting as the Congress president of the newly-constructed congress working committee. The upcoming state elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh along with the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 will top the agenda at the meet. All Pradesh Congress Committee presidents and Congress Legislature Party leaders have been asked to be present for the meetings. 

Last week, Rahul had constituted a new team of the Congress Working Committee and dropped veterans Digvijaya Singh, Janardan Dwivedi, Kamal Nath, Sushilkumar Shinde and Karan Singh. However, he has retained other veterans like AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni, Motilal Vora, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Anand Sharma and Kumari Selja in the party's highest decision-making body.

The new Congress Working Committee (CWC) includes 23 members, 19 permanent invitees and 9 special invitees. Besides Rahul, former party chief Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, all former Congress chief ministers Ashok Gehlot, Oomen Chandy, Tarun Gogoi, Siddharamaiah and Harish Rawat have also been included.

Other prominent exclusions are Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who was earlier a permanent invitee to the body, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh and party veterans Mohan Prakash, Oscar Fernandes, C P Joshi and Mohsina Kidwai. However, Hooda's son Deepender Singh has been made a special invitee. 

Among the new faces are Mukul Wasnik, Avinash Pande, KC Venugopal, Dipak Babaraia, Tamradhwaj Sahu, Gaikhangam and Ashok Gehlot, whom he has also made party general secretaries. The permanent invitees include former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, P Chidambaram, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Randeep Surjewala, Balasaheb Thorat, Tariq Hameed Karra and P C Chacko.

The new Congress chief has also included all AICC secretaries in-charge of different states - Jitendra Singh, RPN Singh, PL Punia, Asha Kumari, Rajni Patil, Ram Chandra Khuntia, Anugrah Narayan Singh, Rajeev S Satav, Shaktisinh Gohil, Gaurav Gogoi and A Chella Kumar - as permanent invitees. However, they will only be ex-officio members of the panel. 

Among the special invitees to the CWC include KH Muniyappa, Arun Yadav, Deepender Hooda, Jitin Prasada and Kuldeep Bishnoi.
Besides chiefs of party's frontal organisations INTUC, Seva Dal, Youth Congress, Mahila Congress and NSUI have also been included as ex-officio special invitees and they will also be ex-officio members.

The CWC was dissolved prior to the election of the Congress president and the earlier panel was transformed into a steering committee till the party's plenary session that concluded in March. The CWC, which acts as an advisory panel on all key decisions of the party, was not in place since the plenary session in March. 

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