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Congress plenary to set tone for 2019 polls, likely to spell out stance on alliances

Rahul Gandhi, 47, was elected Congress chief in December 2017 and the plenary will have his definitive stamp.   

Congress plenary to set tone for 2019 polls, likely to spell out stance on alliances
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New Delhi: The Congress plenary beginning on Friday is being held after almost eight years and will ratify Rahul Gandhi`s election as Congress president and is expected to outline party`s strategies to oust the Narendra Modi government in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. 

Rahul, 47, was elected party chief in December 2017. The plenary will begin with a meeting of the steering committee on Friday which would finalise the draft resolutions. Rahul`s speech on Saturday morning is expected to set the tone of plenary. He will also make the concluding remarks. 

Following are some of the key points of the plenary:

- It will be held at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. The last plenary was held in Burari in December 2010. 

- While former PM Manmohan Singh would address the plenary, there is no certainty yet if Sonia Gandhi will speak. 

- Rahul has constituted an organising committee, a drafting committee and its four sub-groups and a constitution amendment committee for the plenary session.

- While Manmohan Singh is chairman of the drafting committee and Mukul Wasnik its convener, AICC treasurer Motilal Vora is chairman of the organising committee and party general secretary Oscar Fernandes its convener.

- The constitution amendment committee has senior party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Janardan Dwivedi as its chairman and convener, with ten other senior leaders, including Ahmed Patel, P Chidambaram, Mallikarjun Kharge and Kapil Sibal, as its members.

- While AK Antony is the chairman of the political sub-group and Selja its convener, Chidambaram is the chairman of the economic affairs sub-group with Jairam Ramesh as its convener and Anand Sharma the head the international affairs sub-group with Jyotiraditya Scindia as its convener.

The drafting committee has 44 other senior party leaders as its members. It also has four sub-groups on political, economic affairs, international affairs and agriculture and employment.

- More than twelve thousand AICC and PCC members are expected to take part in the plenary. Former Congress MLAs, MPs, chief ministers and current CMs among those who have been invited.

- The party is expected to pass more than seven resolutions mainly pertaining to the current political situation. Resolutions may also be passed on India's foreign policy, economic situation, unemployment and farmers' distress. 

-  Keen to build a grass-roots campaign against the Modi government, the party will come out with 'facts sheets' in the form of booklets on agriculture, economy, youth, weaker sections, besides national security. 

- The political resolution is expected to spell out ways in which the party will go about retrieving its lost ground and political space.

- As per Zee Media sources, Congress will in its political resolution put a stamp on coalition politics. They believe that the only way to defeat Modi-led BJP in 2019 is to put together a coalition of 'secular' parties. Sonia had recently held a dinner for Opposition leaders at her residence which was attended by 20 political parties.   

- Plus, the party will dwell on its prospects in elections to key states of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh slated in 2018.

- At the same time, Rahul has to take a call on the composition of the Congress Working Committee (which has now been revamped as steering committee). It has 24 members at present. 

- It is not clear yet if Rahul will opt for election to the committee in keeping with his oft-repeated thrust on internal democracy or opt to nominate them as has been the general practice in the party. 

- Rahul is keen on a greater contribution from the youth during the plenary and as per media reports, party leaders have said that many of the AICC members, who will take part in the deliberations, are young in keeping with the country`s demographic profile.

(With Agency inputs)