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Congress top leaders to hold talks over new party chief on Oct 16

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Congress’s top body is scheduled to hold a high level meet on October 16 over the new chief, the “current political situation”, and state elections next year. On agenda will be –  the country’s “current political situation”, “forthcoming assembly elections”, and organisational elections.

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“A meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) will be held on Saturday, October 16, at 10 am,” at the party headquarters in Delhi, a statement read.

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Last month, as the party faced turmoil in Punjab amid the leadership change – after it picked the state’s first Dalit Chief Minister Charanjit Channi to replace Amarinder Singh, one of Punjab’s tallest leaders -spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had told the reporters that a meeting of the CWC was expected soon.

This was after veteran leader Kapil Sibal shot off a new letter to the Gandhis: “In Congress there is no elected president now. Who is taking calls? We don’t know who is taking decisions in the party.”

“We are G-23, definitely not Ji Huzoor-23. We will keep raising issues,” said Mr Sibal, shooting punches at the Gandhis without naming them.

Hours later, party workers protested outside his house with “Get well soon” placards, threw tomatoes and damaged his car.

The demonstrations were criticised by the leaders of “G-23” or group of 23 party dissidents, who had sent a letter to Sonia Gandhi last year demanding sweeping changes in the party. Since then, various leaders have reminded the Gandhis that nothing has changed on the ground and the Congress down spiral continues.

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Elections are due next year in five states, including Punjab – that has witnessed tremendous political crisis – and Uttar Pradesh. 

The Gandhis have been relentlessly attacking the BJP in UP where Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is in charge. This week, Rahul Gandhi’s and sister Priyanka’s visit to families of those killed in UP’s Lakhimpur district was preceded by Ms Gandhi Vadra’s arrest, which she had described as “illegal”. 

On Friday, poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s tweet on “deep-rooted” problems in the Congress, months after his visit to the Gandhis raised speculation about him joining the party, also started a new debate about the party’s revival.

“People looking for a quick, spontaneous revival of GOP led opposition based on #LakhimpurKheri incident are setting themselves up for a big disappoinment. Unfortunately there are no quick fix solutions to the deep-rooted problems and structural weakness of GOP,” Mr Kishor had said in his tweet – which got sharp reactions from party leaders.

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