In the two-day deliberations at Hyderabad, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) hailed the party's election preparedness, accused the Union and Telangana governments of 'betraying' the state, and called for ideological clarity.
This was the first meeting of the reconstituted CWC, the apex decision-making body of Congress, and came ahead of assembly elections in five states: Telangana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Mizoram. Congress looks forward to retain Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and wrest power from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh.
The formulations of the strategy for the 2024 general elections also figured in the two-day deliberations of the CWC.
Last month, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge had reconstituted the CWC. It has 39 members, 18 permanent invitees, 14 in-charges, nine special invitees, and four ex-officio members. The two-day meeting included an 'extended' CWC which also included state party chiefs, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leaders, parliamentary party office-bearers and its Central Election Committee members, according to PTI.
At the CWC meeting, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called for ideological clarity in the party and asked the leaders to not walk into the "traps of BJP", reported PTI, adding that Congress President Kharge stressed on unity and organisational discipline, and asked party leaders to set aside personal differences for upcoming polls.
The Congress Working Committe's resolution
In the resolution issued after the CWC meeting, the Congress party asserted confidence in performing well in the five upcoming assembly elections.
The resolution also reaffirmed the preparedness of Congress for 2024 general elections and said "people of our country are wanting change" and the party "will fulfill their expectations of law and order, freedom, social and economic justice, equality and equity".
The resolution further said, "This meeting of the Extended Congress Working Committee concludes by expressing its confidence that the Indian National Congress will receive a decisive mandate from the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana in the assembly elections that will be held shortly."
This meeting of the Extended Congress Working Committee concludes by expressing its confidence that the Indian National Congress will receive a decisive mandate from the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana in the assembly elections that will… pic.twitter.com/nIBnuO5z9O— Congress (@INCIndia) September 17, 2023
Rahul Gandhi calls for ideological clarity
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at the CWC meeting called for ideological clarity among the party leaders and asked for a focus on people's issues.
Rahul further advised the party leaders against "walking into traps of the BJP". The comment came at a time when a controversy is raging over statements on 'Sanatan Dharma', a term often used synonymous to Hinduism. After Tamil Nadu minister and DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin called it a disease and called for the "eradication" of Sanatan Dharma, Congress leaders Priyank Kharge and other Congress allies too made similar statements. The BJP has mounted an aggressive campaign against the Opposition and Congress over the issue.
Much of the Congress party has taken a cautious stand on the issue and has sought to distance itself from the statements and the controversy even if it has not forecefully condemned the comments of leader of DMK, who is the principal ally of Congress in Tamil Nadu and a key INDIA bloc player.
राहुल जी ने CWC की मीटिंग में कहा- "कांग्रेस पार्टी संगठन आधारित पार्टी नहीं है। कांग्रेस पार्टी एक आंदोलन है, जिसके पास एक संगठन भी है। यही कांग्रेस पार्टी और देश की अन्य पार्टी में एक मौलिक फर्क है।"— Congress (@INCIndia) September 17, 2023
'भारत जोड़ो यात्रा' कांग्रेस को अपनी आंदोलन की जड़ों में ले जा रही है। इस… pic.twitter.com/vPhyzlaw8e
After the meeting, Congress media and publicity department chief Pawan Khera told media that Rahul also asked party leaders to remain focussed on the actual reason why the Congress and each one of them were in politics – to ensure that they heed the voice of 'Bharat Mata' and translate that voice into actual issues, and wherever in government, into actual policies, reported PTI.
PTI further reported, "Sources said some leaders, including Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh, said at the CWC meeting that the party should stay away from such issues and not be drawn into it."
It's not time to rest, we should also prepare for J&K polls: Kharge
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said at the CWC meeting that the party does not have time to rest and should also prepare for the aseembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
J&K has been without an elected government since November 2018 when the assembly was dissolved by the then-Governor Satya Pal Malik. Earlier in June 2018, the then-CM of J&K Mehbooba Mufti had resigned as the Chief Minister after the BJP, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, withdrew its support. There has been no elected government or an elected assembly since and elections were last held in December 2014.
"Elections in five states are scheduled in the next two to three months, while the Lok Sabha elections only six months away. Also, we must be prepared for possible assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir...This is not the time for us to rest. In last 10 years under BJP rule, the challenges faced by ordinary people have multiplied. The Prime Minister refuses to address the concerns of the poor, farmers, laborers, women, and youth; instead, he cannot look beyond himself," said Kharge.
Kharge also said that there are challenges ahead that "concern the survival of Indian Democracy and the preservation of the Constitution of India".
Mentioning the recent victories in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, Kharge emphasised on party organisation's strength and called for the setting aside of differences. Notably, the Rajasthan unit of Congress, which is headed to polls later this years, has been ridden with a yearslong tussle between CM Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, who also mounted a failed rebellion in 2020.
"We must work tirelessly, putting aside personal interests. We must prioritize the success of the party putting aside our personal differences...Likewise, organizational unity is of utmost importance. Only through unity and discipline can we defeat our adversaries. This was evident in Karnataka, where we remained united and fought with discipline to achieve success," said Kharge.
Delhi, Hyderabad 'betrayed' Telangana: CWC
Calling for a 'golden Telangana', the CWC alleged that both the Narendra Modi government in Delhi and K Chandrashekar Rao government in Hyderabad "betrayed" the people of Telangana.
The Congress also claimed that Telangana CM KCR, as K Chandrashekar Rao is called, and his family have established "family rule" and have dragged the state back into the past by "ruling like the Nizams", according to PTI.
"It is time to reignite the dream of a 'Bangaaru' (golden) Telangana and deliver the future that the people of Telangana deserve...The people of Telangana hoped and wished for a 'Bangaaru' Telangana where they set the course of their own future with Nidhilu, Neelu, Niayamakalu – resources, water, employment – for all," said Congress, as per PTI.
In poll-bound Telangana, the Congress has embarked on a mass contact programme against this "misrule", starting with the Bharat Jodo Yatra, said the party.
Tens of thousands of people shared their experiences of the governments of the BJP in Delhi and the BRS in Hyderabad, both enriching a chosen few at the cost of the poor, farmers, Dalits, tribals and minorities, the CWC said, as per PTI, adding that the Congress party throughout India has always worked for a strong and inclusive economy whose benefits reach all.
Later, the Congress announced 'five guarantees' to the people of Telangana at a rally building. Earlier, the party had made declarations for farmers, youth, and the elderly.
LIVE: Congress announces '5 Guarantees' for Telangana at Vijayabheri Sabha in Tukkuguda, Rangareddy district. https://t.co/wsKCt6J6rB— Congress (@INCIndia) September 17, 2023