CWC reaffirms faith in Sonia Gandhi, urges her to effect organisational changes
New Delhi, March 13, 2022
The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of the party, held a marathon meeting here to discuss the debacle suffered by it in the recent assembly elections in five states and unanimously reaffairmed its faith in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and urged her to effect comprehensive organisational changes.
"The CWC unanimously reaffirms its faith in the leadership of Smt. Sonia Gandhi and requests the Congress President to lead from the front, address the organisational weaknesses, effect necessary and comprehensive organisational changes in order to take on the political challenges," a statement issued by the party at the end of the four-and-half hour meeting said.
The latest round of elections, held between February 10 and March 7, in which votes were counted on March 10, saw the Aam Aadmi Party unseat the Congress in Punjab with an overwhelming majority. The BJP retained power in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. The Congress fared badly in all five states.
"The recent Assembly election results of five states are a cause of serious concern for the Indian National Congress. The party accepts that due to shortcomings in our strategy, we could not effectively expose the misrule of BJP State Governments in four states and overcome the anti-incumbency in the State of Punjab in the short time after effecting a change of leadership," said the CWC statement.
The statement said the Congress represented "the hopes of millions of Indians against political authoritarianism prevailing in the country today and the party is fully conscious of its immense responsibility".
"The CWC expresses its gratitude to millions of Congress workers and leaders across the five states, who worked tirelessly for the party and its candidates," it said.
"While humbly accepting the electoral verdict of the latest round of Assembly elections, the Congress party assures its workers and the people of India that it will continue to remain a vigilant and vibrant Opposition. The Congress Party will be fully prepared to face the electoral challenges in the election-going states in 2022 & 2023 as well as in the Lok Sabha elections 2024," the statement said.
Briefing journalists, Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the CWC had decided to hold a "Chintan Shivir" (brainstorming session) after the current session of Parliament to consider various proposals for rejuvenating the party. They also said that the CWC would meet again ahead of the Chintan Shivir.
Apart from Sonia Gandhi, who presided, the meeting was attended by senior leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as well as "dissenters" such as Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, who are part of a group of 23 leaders (G23) who have been calling for comprehensive changes in the party.
Others who attended the meeting included Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Secretary (Organisation) K. C. Venugopal, P. Chidambaram, Shaktisinh Gohil, Vivek Bansal, Dinesh Gundu Rao, B V Srinivas (Youth Congress president), Devendra Yadav, Harish Rawat, Tariq Anwar, Ambika Soni, Digvijaya Singh and Rajeev Shukla, among others.
Some leaders feel that the party must fix accountability for the defeat and make urgent changes in the composition of the CWC to devise a new strategy for the coming elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.