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Sonia, Rahul to break silence on Wednesday

August 19, 2014 11:00 IST

Three months after the Rout, the Congress finally stirs into action. Anita Katyal reports on Wednesday's party convention, the first since the debacle.

Having been in a coma since its shocking defeat in the Lok Sabha election, the Congress has finally stirred into action.

The Congress will hold a Mahila Congress convention on Wednesday, August 20 -- Rajiv Gandhi's 70th birth anniversary -- which will be attended by over 8,000 lady Congress leaders and workers from all over the country.

'Sankalp Diwas,' the day-long programme at the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi, will be dedicated to elected women representatives in local bodies.

The convention will highlight Rajiv Gandhi's role in pushing for 33 per cent reservations for women at the grassroot level and launch a campaign to press the Narendra Modi government for early passage of the Women's Reservation Bill.

Such a convention would have been dismissed as a routine party programme -- especially as it has been organised by the not-particularly-energetic Mahila Congress -- but 'Sankalp Diwas' is being taken seriously.

Both the party president and vice-president, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, will address the gathering, the first time mother and son will speak to party cadres after the election debacle. The Congress won just 44 Lok Sabha seats, its worst electoral performance.

With the leadership showing no signs of fighting back, dissenting voices in the party have grown louder in recent weeks.

The A K Antony committee, which was asked to examine the reasons for the Congress humiliation, submitted its report to Sonia last weekend.

It makes no reference to Rahul's uninspiring leadership or how he failed to motivate both party workers and voters though several Congress leaders referred to this when they met Antony.

Like his earlier three reports, Antony cited poor selection of candidates, factional battles and the Bharatiya Janata Party's communal and presidential-style campaign for the Congress rout.

Anita Katyal in New Delhi