Collective leadership? Congress panel for Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha

Express News Service

NEW DELHI/LUCKNOW: Days after a letter written by senior Congress leaders to Sonia Gandhi seeking changes in the party’s functioning, the party has constituted a ten-member group consisting of MPs from both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha for coordination in the two Houses. 

The committee comes into being after the letter seeking collective leadership and need for internal discussions on party’s line on key issues was hotly debated at a stormy CWC meeting on Monday. Two of the signatories to the letter — Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma — are part of the committee.

Other Rajya Sabha members include Jairam Ramesh, Ahmed Patel and KC Venugopal. Ramesh has been named chief whip of the party in the Upper House, a post lying vacant for quite some time after B. Kalita switched over to the BJP. 

According to party sources, the move is aimed at sending out a message that the high command is open to accommodating critical view and addressing their concerns. 

In the Lok Sabha, Punjab MP Ravneet Singh Bittu has been named the whip while Gaurav Gogoi will be the party’s deputy leader in the House. Both are reportedly close to Rahul Gandhi.

Other LS member part of the committee are Leader of the Congress in the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, chief whip K Suresh and whip M Tagore. 

Unelected chief won’t have even 1% support: Azad Under attack over the letter, Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday made a pitch for elections for the entire Congress Working Committee (CWC) and said those having genuine interest in the internal working dynamics of the party would welcome this proposal.

An unelected Congress president may “not even have one per cent support” in the party, he said, adding that elected CWC members will have stable tenures.

He said that those having genuine interest in mind would have no issues with even state and district presidents being elected.

“People who have genuine interest in the Congress will not oppose our letter. The benefit of election is that at least your party is 51 per cent behind you and right now, the person who becomes president might not even have one per cent support. If CWC members are elected, then they cannot be removed,” he added.

Meanwhile, Jitin Prasada, one of the signatories to the letter, was targeted in UP with the Lakhimpur Kheri district unit of the Congress seeking his expulsion.  

Senior leader Kapil Sibal came out in support of Prasada and tweeted, “Unfortunate that Jitin Prasada is being officially targeted in UP. Congress needs to target BJP with surgical strikes instead of wasting its energy by targeting its own,” tweeted Sibal. 

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