Cong chief Kharge forms 47-member Steering Committee replacing CWC, Tharoor missing from list
New Delhi, Oct 26: The newly elected Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday formed a 47-member Steering Committee that includes former prime minister Manmohan Singh and the party's ex-presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in it.
The interim panel headed by him would take the place of the Congress Working Committee, the apex decision-making body, till a new CWC is formed after Kharge's election is ratified at the party plenary as reported by news agecny PTI.
Along with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, the Steering Committee also has other senior members of the party including former PM Manmohan Singh, A K Antony, Priyanka gandhiAbhishek Manu Singhvi, Ajay Maken, Ambika Soni, Avinash Pandey, Anand Sharma, Gaikhangam, Harish Rawat, Former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, Jitendra Singh, Kumari Seljia, Digvijay Singh, Tariq Anwar, Salman Khurshid, etc.
Vivek Bansal, a former MLA who was a permanent invitee in the previous CWC, is now the in-charge for Haryana affairs of the party.
Shashi Tharoor, who contested against Kharge, is not among the panel members.
He was earlier heading the Professional Congress wing of the party but resigned ahead of the party's presidential election.
The CWC special invitees not included in the new panel are Ajay Kumar Lallu, Chinta Mohan, Deepender Singh Hooda, Sachin Rao, besides Seva Dal chief organiser Lalji Desai, IYC chief Srinivas B V, NSUI chief Neeraj Kundan, Mahila Congress chief Netta D'Souza and president of Intuc G Sanjeeva Reddy. Anand Sharma, a CWC member and a prominent leader of the G23 dissident group that was pushing for organisational overhaul, has been retained in the Steering Committee.
Earlier in the day, soon after Kharge took over as the new chief, all CWC members and office bearers of the party tendered their resignations to the new party chief to enable him to choose his own team. There is a tradition of all office bearers of the Congress resigning soon after the election of the new president.
"All the CWC members, AICC general secretaries and in-charges have tendered their resignation to Congress president," said AICC general secretary Organisation KC Venugopal.
According to a communication from the AICC general secretary (Organisation), the steering committee members include senior party leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, A K Antony, Ambika Soni, Anand Sharma, K C Venugopal, Randeep Surjewala and Digvijaya Singh.
"As per Article XV (b) of the Constitution of the Indian National Congress, the Congress president has constituted the Steering Committee which would function in place of the Congress Working Committee," Venugopal said in the order.
The CWC is the highest decision-making body of the Congress and the Steering Committee will now take all decisions till the ratification of Kharge's election at the party's plenary session attended by all PCC delegates.
According to the party Constitution, 11 members of the CWC will be nominated and 12 will be elected. Besides, the leader of the party in Parliament and the Congress president will also be the members of the working committee. The session is likely to be held in March next year.
Among those who resigned was Anand Sharma who assured of all cooperation to the new chief and thanked Sonia Gandhi for her leadership.
Congratulating the new Congress chief, Sharma said, "It has been a privilege for me to have served as a member of the CWC with the outgoing president Sonia Gandhi and also with former president Rahul Gandhi."
"As you assume the office of the Congress president, I am submitting my resignation from the CWC. I consider, that it is important for the new president to have the freedom to reconstitute the CWC as required under the provisions of the Constitution of the Indian National Congress," he said, assuring his support in all endeavours for strengthening the party.