CWC sets agenda to revitalise party

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New Delhi, May 31 (UNI) Disturbed by its electoral reverses in Karnataka, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) today decided to set up a Committee to suggest ways and means to 'revitalise' the party to effectively take on its main political rival BJP in the forthcoming state assembly elections in November and in the Lok Sabha elections early next year.

The meeting authorised Congress President Sonia Gandhi to constitute the committee which will have to submit its report within 15 days.

Chaired by Ms Gandhi and attended by 35 out of the 36 CWC members, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the meeting lasted three and a half hours and devoted most of the time for discussing the poll debacle in the recent assembly elections, inlcuding Karnataka where the BJP has formed its first government in South India yesterday.

CWC members Janardhan Dwivedi and Veerappa Moily told mediapersons that the proposed committee would also be asked to suggest such schemes and programmes that would help to strengthen the party.

Defence Minister A K Antony was the only CWC member who did not attend the meeting. He was hospitalised in Pune this morning.

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 five years.

Mr Dwivedi said the meeting discussed the price rise, and felt that the state governments also had a responsibility to control the price situation.

It was also pointed out that there was no system in many states for effective procurement of foodgrains and take effective action against hoarders and blackmarketeers.

"Price rise is a large issue. I can't explain it here. There are international compulsions, including oil price," he said.

Asked if oil price issue was discussed, Mr Dwivedi said though it was discussed it would need a collective decision of the UPA.

In a political resolution adopted at the meeting, the party said it had met with successes and setbacks in its long history, but had never allowed despondency and inertia to overtake its functioning.

"The Congress has the capacity to draw correct lessons from temorary electoral defeats and re-energise itself to meet emerging challenges," it said.

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