The Congress on Sunday authorised Rahul Gandhi to take all key decisions, including finalising alliances and charting out campaign plans, ahead of the 2019 general elections. This was among several other key decisions taken at the five-hour long meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) held in New Delhi today, during which the grand old party sounded the bugle for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Party president Rahul Gandhi said that a group of experienced leaders has been set up that would start working towards alliances for 2019. A strategy to reach out to the voters so as to win back their trust was also discussed the meeting.
"We expect to better our 2004 performance. People will decide. Once Congress party becomes the single largest party touching the same magic figure of 200 or more, naturally Congress party will be leading whoever else wants to come and walk hand in hand," Congress' Randeep Surjewala told the media after the meeting.
Rahul's alliance strategy will be tested in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the states which would go to elections this year before the big Lok Sabha finale in 2019.
"Rahul ji has been authorised to form election campaign committee and take decisions on pre-poll and post-poll alliance," said Ashok Gehlot, AICC General Secretary.
When asked about Prime Ministerial candidate of the Congress, Surjewala told the media, "Naturally then Congress President would be the only face to be projected. Congress would fight this election by putting forward our leader - Rahul Gandhi."
Rahul also warned the party workers to choose words carefully while speaking before media or at public forums so as not to dent the image of the party.
"I am fighting bigger fights. Everyone has the right to speak in party forum but if a party leader gives a wrong statement and weakens this fight, I will not hesitate to take an action," Rahul said.
Rahul chaired the first meeting of the recently-constituted Congress Working Committee today in the Parliament Annexe Building.
Rahul's mother Sonia Gandhi, former PM Manmohan Singh, Ambika Soni, Mallikarjun Kharge, senior general secretary, Ashok Gehlot, were among the key leaders who took part in the meeting.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, in his address, assured Rahul that he and all other Congressmen would help him in the onerous task of restoring India's social harmony and economic development.
"I assure Rahul Gandhiji that we will fully support him in his onerous task of restoring India's social harmony and economic development, he said, rejecting the culture of constant 'self praise and jumlas' (gimmicks), as against solid policy framework for driving the engine of growth," he said.
Gandhi on July 17 reconstituted the party's highest decision-making body with a blend of experienced and GenNext leaders. Of the 51 members, 23 are in the main panel, followed by 18 permanent invitees and 10 special invitees.
CWC, which acts as an advisory panel on all key decisions of the party, has not been in place since a plenary session in March. The committee also has some veteran leaders on it, including Motilal Vora, Ashok Gehlot and AK Antony.