In her opening remarks as the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi left no subject unaddressed at the CWC meeting today, Oct 16. Many members of the Congress Working committee have appealed to Rahul Gandhi to take over as the president of the party.
A proposal in this regard was mooted by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and vetted by other Chief Ministers and leaders. Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni said, "all the members were unanimous that Rahul Gandhi should take over as president of the Congress party."
In another major development, the Congress Working committee, the highest decision making body of the party, has given go ahead to the internal elections of the party.The CWC met for more than five hours on Saturday and deliberated upon the issues ranging from organisational elections, upcoming assembly polls and issues faced by common man, besides ramifications from economic decisions.
In her speech, interim chief Sonia Gandhi wished a full and speedy recovery to former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh who is undergoing treatment for dengue in AIIMS.
Then moving straight in to farmers' agitation, the Lakhimpur incident, to economic crisis in the nation, petrol prices, minorities killings in Jammu and Kashmir, the challenges India faces at borders and its foreign policy among others, she reviewed many issues before the nation.
"We are meeting in the background of continuing agitation by farmers and farmers' organisations. It has been over a year since the 'teen kaale kanoon' were bulldozed through the Parliament. It was hell bent on getting them passed so that a few private companies could benefit," she told the CWC members.
Vaccines: Give credit where it's due
As an instrumental member of the opposition, she opposed the government on several issues, but appreciated the vaccine procurement policy. "Since we last met, the government has changed its vaccine procurement policy. This has been done in response to the demands of the states. This was one of those rare occasions when the states were actually heard and the country benefitted. Even so, cooperative federalism remains only a slogan and the Centre loses no opportunity to put non-BJP states at a disadvantage," she said that might have surprised many members in the part.
At the same time, she criticised the government on its economic measures and policies. "The only answer that government seems to have for economic recovery is selling off national assets built with great effort over the decades. The public sector had had not just strategic and economic objectives but social goals as well, for instance empowerment of SC's and ST's and development of backward areas but all this is in jeopardy with government's single point agenda of Becho, Becho, Becho."
Reading between the lines
The Congress President also said that she has always, "appreciated frankness," and added, "There is no need to speak to me through the media. So let us have a free and honest discussion."
The message apparently was for G23 and other rebels in the party, wherein she also clearly stated her position of a full time hands-on Congress President. "I am, if you allow me, a full time hands-on Congress President." The statement further read, "I have been interacting with like-minded political parties regularly. But what should get communicated outside the four walls of this room is the collective decision of the CWC."
Ghulam Nabi Azad praises Priyanka Gandhi
Meanwhile, Ghulam Nabi Azad praised Priyanka Gandhi over her visit to Lakhimpur despite all odds and detention overnight in Uttar Pradesh. The party also said in January that the new President would be elected in June. This decision was also taken after a CWC meet.
Meanwhile, the party announced that the elections for a full-time Congress President and also the team of new office bearers and representatives will be held in August-September 2022.