Top Congress leaders held deliberations on Saturday at the first meeting of the new Congress Working Committee (CWC) focusing on preparing a comprehensive road map for ensuring the party's victory in the upcoming assembly polls in five states and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
By holding the crucial CWC meeting in the Telangana capital, the party is also looking to send out a message that it will go all-out to dislodge the Bharat Rashtra Samiti government in the poll-bound state.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, former party chiefs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and general secretaries K C Venugopal and Jairam Ramesh, among others, were present at the meeting.
The CWC meeting began around 3 pm, soon after the unfurling of the party flag at the Taj Krishna hotel venue in Hyderabad.
Before the start of the CWC meeting, the first in many years held outside Delhi, Congress chief Kharge said his party has fought for and ushered in democracy, social justice, progress and equality in the country and will continue to fight to preserve national integrity and unity in diversity.
'In consonance with our long cherished philosophy, the Congress Working Committee will craft a comprehensive road map to lead the party towards victory and strengthen the future of our nation and her people,' he said in his message.
In his post on X, Kharge also shared former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's message.
"We had made a promise to the people of Telangana. We have fulfilled that promise," Sonia Gandhi said, referring to the creation of the state of Telangana following the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014.
She said the Congress has always stood by the aspirations of the people of Telangana.
"Now, it's time to lead the state into a new era of progress and prosperity. The Congress Working Committee stands ready to write a new chapter of development with dignity for all people of Telangana and our nation," she said.
This will be the first CWC meeting after he took over as the party president in October last year.
'The Congress is dedicated to raising the concerns of the common people, and striving to provide them with a government that upholds their rights and aspirations,' Rahul Gandhi said in a Facebook post before the meeting.
During the CWC meeting and the deliberations at the extended working committee session on Sunday discussions about party organisation will take place.
The leaders will hold discussions regarding the upcoming elections in five states, Kharge said.
The focus of the meetings, he said, will be on strengthening the organisation and discussions on alliances will take place in the meeting of the INDIA bloc.
The brainstorming of the Congress top brass during the meeting would prove to be a 'game changer' and a 'transformative moment' for Telangana politics as well as the party, according to party leaders.
The party said 'free and open' discussions would take place during the CWC, asserting that its internal democracy is what makes it different from other parties.
"Everybody is free to voice his or her opinion, suggestion, or criticism. That is the way our party functions," Congress media and publicity department head Pawan Khera earlier said.
On Sunday, there will be a meeting of the extended CWC to which all state party chiefs and CLP leaders, besides Parliamentary Party office-bearers, Central Election Committee members have been invited to strategize for the upcoming elections.
While the MPs of the party would return to Delhi for the special session of Parliament after the rally, other leaders, CWC members, PCC presidents and CLP leaders will branch out to the various assembly constituencies on September 18.
"The charge sheet against the KCR government will come out, our workers will be there in all assembly constituencies. Along with the leaders, they will participate in this programme," Venugopal earlier said.
Kharge had on August 20 reconstituted the CWC, retaining the old guard and giving space to the young in the 84-member body.
The CWC has 39 regular members, 32 permanent invitees and 13 special invitees. These include 15 women and several new faces such as Shashi Tharoor, Sachin Pilot and Gaurav Gogoi who are among the regular members.