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'Congress leaders want Rahul to play meaningful role in party'
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | January 21, 2006 21:46 IST
All India Congress Committee general secretary Ambika Soni on Saturday said Congress leaders wanted Amethi member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi to play a meaningful role in the party.
She was answering questions at the media briefing on the proceedings of the extended Congress Working Committee meeting on the first day of the 82nd Congress plenary in Hyderabad.
"After the party's conclave in Delhi, the Congress leaders wanted Rahul Gandhi to join the organisation in a meaningful manner so that more youth can be inspired to join the Congress to strengthen it," Soni pointed out.
However, she would not reveal whether any formal demand was made by any member at the extended CWC meeting Saturday to induct Rahul into the CWC. "I am not empowered to talk about what transpired at the extended CWC. I am neither denying it nor confirming it," she quipped.
Soni said the extended CWC meeting discussed the draft resolutions on political affairs, economic affairs, agriculture, employment and poverty alleviation and international relations and security for nearly four and a half hours.
The draft resolution on political affairs was introduced by Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh.
He highlighted its salient features in a 15-minute presentation. As many as 25 members spoke and suggested amendments to the draft political resolution. They were asked to give suggestions in writing for incorporation in the draft. The draft resolutions on economic affairs and agriculture, employment and poverty alleviation were discussed together since the issues were inter-related.
She said that all the 47 CWC members barring A B A Ghani Khan Chowdary attended the meeting along with other members of the extended body.
Uttaranchal Chief Minister Narayan Dutt Tewari and Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh could not attend. So also, two to three Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs from north-eastern states could not turn up for the plenary for assorted reasons.
Soni pointed out that about 1,600 AICC delegates and over 7,000 PCC delegates had come to participate in the 82nd plenary. Besides, 5,000 to 6,000 Congress workers from northern states -- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan -- had come to Hyderabad.
"They are neither AICC or PCC delegates, but ordinary partymen. We are in touch with security officers to let them into the AICC session. But the security agencies have not given clearance so far," she added.
After the extended CWC meeting, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee made a presentation to the plenary on the programmes of the United Progressive Alliance government. However, the prime minister and the Congress president were not present at this presentation.