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Plenary session of Congress from Saturday
Sunil Gatade in Hyderabad | January 20, 2006 11:22 IST
The Congress' coalition in Karnataka is on the rocks after a section of Janata Dal-Secular, led by H D Kumaraswamy, rebelled and joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party to stake claim to form the government.
The plenary is being held ahead of the assembly polls in five states, including West Bengal and Kerala where the principal adversary for the Congress will be the Left parties supporting the Central coalition from outside.
The theme of the session, Ateet Ki Neev, Bhavishya Ka Nirman Aur Nayee Jimmedari (Foundation of the past, building the future and new responsibilities), reflects the party's approach to alliances.
Unlike the plenary at Tirupati in 1992 and Kolkata in 1997, Hyderabad will not witness any elections for the Congress Working Committee, the highest decision-making forum of the party, as Sonia has already nominated most of its members.
There is expectation in party circles that demands will be voiced at Hyderabad for inducting Rahul Gandhi in the CWC.
It is unclear whether Priyanka Vadra will make it.
Though the venue of the plenary falls in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, it is unclear in which way the Congress will approach the issue of creation of smaller states. The Telangana Rashtriya Samithi, which is spearheading a movement for statehood, is an ally of Congress.
The main focus at the session is likely to be on the government and the party is likely to hail the achievements of the UPA coalition like the National Rural Employment Guarantee programme, Right to Information Act and the ambitious Bharat Nirman for creation of rural infrastructure.
Sonia has already asked party workers to ensure that schemes like NREGP were implemented properly in a move to reach out to the people.
Senior party leader Arjun Singh, heading a sub-committee that prepared the political resolution, has expressed confidence that a new direction will be given at the session to strengthen the party and turn infighting in the BJP to its advantage.
Party workers are also expected to deliberate at the plenary as to how to revive the organisation in UP and Bihar, the weak spots of the party.
The plenary is being held at a time when the main opposition party, the BJP, faces an image and identity deficit.
But at the same time, the Congress would do well to remember that the saffron party has delivered a blow to the ruling party in Bihar by winning assembly polls along with its ally Janata Dal-United and has masterminded the Karnataka coup.