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AICC meet set to re-endorse Sonia Gandhi

By Renu Mittal
November 02, 2010 00:10 IST
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A one day meeting of the All India Congress Committee is being held on Tuesday at Delhi's newly refurbished Talkatora stadium even as Sonia Gandhi, the president of the 125 year old Indian National Congress is all set to once again be authorised by the members to nominate the Congress Working Committee, the highest decision making body of the congress party.

Once Sonia Gandhi is authorised, she would have a free hand in reconstituting the CWC and this in turn would lead to the reshuffle of the party organisation and begin the process of rationalisation of the 'one-man-one-post' norm in the Congress. The issue has been hanging fire for many months and a number of decisions have been delayed.

Apart from this, the day-long meeting is expected to ratify the election of Sonia Gandhi as the Congress president and she would in her opening remarks set the tone for the day long meeting and put forward the party agenda for the coming year along with expressing her views on key issues.

The lone resolution to be moved in the AICC meet is still in the process of being fine tuned, with the congress presidentholding two rounds of meeting with senior leaders, first in the morning and then the evening, say sources.

The political resolution is expected to be discuss a number of key issues and would be the leadership's views on issues of contemporary significance.

This would include the Ayodhya verdict where the party is expected to clarify its position on the Ram mandir issue, the issue of terrorism, the Kashmir issue and the need to give up violence in the Valley and return to normalcy.

An issue on which the party is expected to do a balancing act, without taking a firm hard and fast line is the issue of alliances and coalition politics. With the Congress heading a coalition government, the party would not like to be seen as demolishing the reality of alliance politics, but at the same time it is expected to make a veiled pitch for Congress being in favour of single party rule.

A great many questions are being asked in the party as to the reason why the one day AICC meeting is being held at all, particularly since the plenary session is expected to be held by mid December, a practice which is seen to be a little unusual in Congress circles. The session is being seen as a quickie, squeezed as it is, in between Diwali and the visit of United States President Barack Obama, a visit seen as crucial by the Indian government.

Apart from this, the AICC session is taking place in the backdrop of the Congress party and its government mired in charges of corruption, both in the Commonwealth Games and now its Maharashtra government facing corruption flak for a housing society scam.

The party has set up enquiry committees galore and whilst the reports are yet to come in, the winter session of Parliament is expected to take up these issues with the Congress geared up to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party and its affiliates on the issue of 'Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha sponsored saffron terror.'

The session is also being held in the midst of the Bihar assembly elections, another unusual decision by the party leadership. Here too the morale of the party is down with reports coming in that the Congress is performing poorly and is not expected to notch up any significant number of seats.

Since 1998, when Sonia Gandhi became the president of the Congress party, she has not held elections to the CWC. That trend is expected to continue, despite the fact that an election schedule has been announced for Tuesday's meeting including the holding of elections, if required.

The main focal point of the show, however is expected to be Rahul Gandhi with the young AICC members expected to make a strong pitch for the young Gandhi to speak in the session.

While much of the Congress exercises are expected to be orchestrated, there is a growing feeling amongst the party's rank and file that Rahul Gandhi is taking too long to settle in. This impatience is also likely to come to the fore in the AICC meeting.

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi
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