The reconstitution of the Congress Working Committee by party president Mallikarjun Kharge ahead of five crucial state polls and the general election next year has brought in some fresh blood and some surprise inclusions but has generally maintained the status quo as is the wont in the grand old party. Apart from the usual suspects such as Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, AK Antony, P Chidambaram et al, Kharge also included some members of the G23 grouping who had rebelled and demanded reorganisation of the party, including Shashi Tharoor, Mukul Wasnik and Anand Sharma. Tharoor had also contested for the party chief’s position against Kharge. In a deft balancing act, Sachin Pilot, who has been involved in a nasty turf war with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, has also been made a member of the CWC. The buzz is that Pilot will be put in charge of a key election-bound state. Pilot along with Gaurav Gogoi and Kamleshwar Patel are the only permanent members of the CWC under 50 though it was resolved at the Udaipur Chintan Shivir and the Raipur plenary session that half the members of the key body would be under 50.
With 39 general members, 18 permanent invitees, 14 state and four organisational in-charges, and 14 special invitees, this is the largest CWC in Congress history. Many of these members are relatively young and are expected to infuse fresh ideas ahead of polls. Nine Scheduled Castes and six OBCs have also made it to the apex body. The Gandhi family’s stamp is apparent in the reconstitution as several Sonia loyalists such as Ambika Soni, P Chidambaram, Digvijay Singh and Rahul favourites such as K C Venugopal, Jitendra Singh and Meenakshi Natarajan find place in the CWC. Priyanka Gandhi is also part of the working committee and is expected to play a key role. The reconstituting of the CWC is only the first step in a long and arduous battle ahead for the grand old party as it seeks to revive itself. To enthuse party cadres and strategise for the crucial state elections ahead of the 2024 battle is what the Congress has to get down to. It needs to draw up an elaborate blueprint to check the BJP and Modi juggernaut. The Congress has wasted enough time trying to get its affairs in order. Now it has to opt for decisive action and take the lead when it comes to Opposition unity or else it will be relegated to the margins of history after being one of the key players that shaped the destiny of this nation.