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Congress poll preparations in doldrums

Cadres await the return of ‘outgoing president’ Rahul Gandhi from the US so that the CWC can meet and decide on its future leadership.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jul 25, 2019, 10.00 AM IST
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While Cong ally NCP has agreed to contest the Maha assembly polls in an alliance, absence of leadership in AICC means no meaningful discussions on sharing of seats.
New Delhi: Congress’s preparations for upcoming assembly polls in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand appear to be in the doldrums as cadres await the return of ‘outgoing president’ Rahul Gandhi from the US so that the CWC can meet and decide on its future leadership.

Meanwhile, the ruling BJP in these states has hit the ground running for the assembly polls due in October.

In Haryana, CM Manohar Lal has intensified poll preparations in coordination with the BJP central leadership.

However, most senior Congress leaders in Haryana have demanded a new leadership team for the state unit. They want the PCC chief and CLP leaders replaced as a pre-condition to start preparing for polls.

“Everybody, including the party high command, knows the current PCC and CLP leaders have virtually no support among the state Congress leaders and party MLAs. No party can plunge into an electoral battle with token leadership and missing party committees,” said a senior Haryana Congress leader.

In Maharashtra, Congress leaders are virtually sitting in the pavilion even as the Shiv Sena has embarked on a state-wide pre-poll yatra and the BJP is about to launch a yatra led by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The AICC recently appointed a new PCC chief and five working presidents in the state. A party leader from the western state said this meant “automatic cancellation” of the campaign programmes prepared by former PCC chief Ashok Chavan. The current leadership now must discuss plans afresh with the high command.

While Congress ally NCP has agreed to contest the Maharashtra assembly polls in an alliance, the absence of leadership in the AICC has meant no meaningful discussions on sharing of seats. In Jharkhand, the state Congress is divided over whether to tie up again with the JMM and RJD even as several party leaders seek the removal of the PCC president, saying he is an “outsider” who originally belonged to Karnataka.

A group of senior Congress leaders has “exchanged notes” with CWC members, conducted an internal opinion poll on the future leader and framed a proposal for appointing an interim party president and a steering committee to hold organisational polls to elect a full-fledged party chief. However, the Karnataka crisis, the Parliament session and Gandhi’s foreign trip have delayed the CWC meeting.
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Meanwhile, senior leader Digvijaya Singh tweeted on Wednesday that “Congress has to identify the core issues which Rahul Gandhi ji has articulated in his 4 page statement and also the Civil Society which is fighting for them.”

This comes after Singh asked younger leaders to take over and fight BJP-RSS. “Congress Party has always encouraged young leadership.

So come on, take BJP/RSS Ideology Head On and you have our unconditional support and would be very happy to be led...We are with you,” Singh said in a tweet on July 22.
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