CWC meet begins with a heavy agenda

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New Delhi, May 30 (UNI) A crucial meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) began here today to review the political situation in the wake of the Karnataka assembly poll results and other issues including the spiralling inflation and the oil prices in the international market.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders have begun discussions on the party's strategy for the coming assembly elections in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.

Former Kerala Chief Minister K Karunakaran, who was recently inducted into the CWC after he returned to the Party, also attended the meeting after a gap of nearly three years.

Defence Minister A K Antony, who was hospitalised in Pune this morning, could not attend the meeting.

The CWC, the highest policy making body of the party, is likely to take up another crucial issue -- the thorny Indo-US nuclear deal -- to assess the pros and cons of going ahead with it, as well as that of leaving it for the next government as the Left parties are sticking to their opposition.

This is perhaps for the first time the CWC is faced with several burning issues that have great political significance. The CWC would look for putting the party's campaign machinery in order ahead of the assembly elections that would be followed by the Lok Sabha polls.

Besides Karnataka, where the BJP has formed the government marking its entry into the corridors of power in the South, the Congress has been defeated in the elections in as many as a dozen states since the UPA took up the reins at the Centre in May 2004.

The CWC would also discuss the need for increasing the prices of petrol and diesel in the context of the spurt in the prices in the international market.

UNI SH RR KN1634

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