Congress sources said that Shinde has not been made a member of the Core Group and there is no indication yet as to when he will be part of the panel which plays a crucial role in decision making. The Core Group met for the first time on Friday after the minor reshuffle in the Union Cabinet, which saw P Chidambaram moving from Home to Finance and Shinde from Power to Home. Shinde was reportedly not present at the meeting.
Besides Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the other members of the Core Group are Defence Minister AK Antony, Chidambaram and Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel. Chidambaram was a member of the Committee when he was the Home Minister. Shivraj Patil as the Home Minister was also a member of the Core Group. The Core Group was set up after the UPA came to power in 2004.
Late Arjun Singh was also a member when he was the HRD Minister but ceased to be part of it in 2009 when he was not included in the Union Cabinet. Shinde is a member of the UPA's coordination committee constituted only recently. Shinde, who had been Maharashtra Chief Minister and Andhra Pradesh Governor, is one of the most prominent Dalit leaders of the Congress.
Amid speculation that Rahul Gandhi is set to play a larger role in the party next month, there is a view that he could be made a member of the Core Group, considered a super-Congress Working Committee(CWC). Party leaders have been maintaining that Gandhi's larger role could be both in the party as well as in the government.
The Core Group acts as a regular connect between the party and the government with Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister and his senior colleagues holding deliberations on key issues on a weekly basis. Rahul was also part of the four-member team that was appointed to oversee the party's work in the absence of Sonia when she had gone abroad for her surgery in August last year.