Ovation for Sonia: The only purpose of AICC meet
Giving a clear indication that some senior leaders would be dropped from the party's highest decision making body -- the Congress Working Committee -- Congress president Sonia Gandhi said that some leaders would have to face disappointment.
Speaking about the CWC, she said that the All India Congress Committee meeting had authorised her to nominate the members, but said 'it is one of the most difficult tasks that has been entrusted to me.' She said it may look easy but it is a very difficult job.
But the Congress president laughed and made light of it by adding, "Congress mein dheeraj rakhne se kabhi na kabhi number aa hi jata hai" (patience pays off in Congress).
The one day AICC meeting authorised Sonia Gandhi to nominate the Congress Working Committee, though its party constitution mandates that 12 members should be elected and 11 should be nominated.
AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi set the ball rolling at the very beginning by informing the meeting that a large number of states had sent representation to the AICC asking that the Congress president should be authorised to nominate the CWC. Dwivedi then made it a point to tell the gathering that the organisation runs because of consensus and co-operation, and not confrontation.
Later, after the Congress president's speech, a formal proposal was adopted by a show of hands authorising Sonia Gandhi to nominate the CWC. There were no dissenting voices but merely applause and approval in the true Congress style.
Text: Renu Mittal in New Delhi
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Image: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi receives a garland from party leaders during the AICC meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
When Congress 'killed democracy' within party
It is ironic that senior AICC leaders, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi who lauded and appreciated Rahul Gandhi for holding elections in the Youth Congress and the National Students' Union of India and for grooming new leaders to take on the mantle, worked overtime to 'kill democracy' and elections in the parent Congress party, by consistently working on continuing the nomination culture.
It was the first time that an AICC meeting had been held since the United Progressive Alliance government was voted back to power in May 2009.
Image: Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi smiles during his visit to a women's college in Patna
Photographs: Krishna Murari Kishan/Reuters
'A disappointment for most of the Congressmen'
The half-day long meeting was not an AICC meeting in the strict sense since no resolutions were moved, though a statement was read out by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and some leaders spoke on the statement.
But it was made clear that a three day AICC plenary session would be held on December 18,19,20 in Delhi and this would discuss the issues in great depth and detail through the various resolutions which would be moved.
A senior leader admitted that because of lack of time it was decided to hold the plenary in Delhi. He said that by then the CWC and the AICC would have been reconstituted and that is the reason why the AICC meeting was held, to authorise the Congress president.
Along with the plenary, the party would also hold the celebrations for its 125 years of existence rather than hold another meeting for that purpose.
Most of the delegates who came returned home disappointed and dissatisfied that the meeting did not give them much chance of interaction with senior leaders or give them an opportunity to air their views before the leadership, as is the customary practice.
But except for loud applause for Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and words of sycophancy, there was no one who had anything of importance to convey to the party rank and file.
Image: Supporters celebrate the victory of Congress party-led alliance in Maharashtra
Photographs: Arko Dutta/Reuters