- Changes show Rahul Gandhi's aim to balance old timers, young faces
- New-look Congress Working Committee will hold first meeting on Sunday
- Sonia Gandhi is a member of the 23-member CWC
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday constituted the party's highest decision-making body, bringing in some new, some younger faces, to the Congress Working Committee and drop many party veterans such as Digvijaya Singh, Janardhan Dwivedi and Sushil Kumar Shinde.
The changes, party sources said, reflect Mr Gandhi's intent to expose the next generation of Congress leaders to deliberations in the party's top panel but at the same time, retain the party veterans whose advice he is known to rely on.
The new-look CWC will hold its first meeting on Sunday. Since this is going to be the first, Mr Gandhi has also invited presidents of state units and leaders of the Congress legislature party to this meeting meet as well.
Sonia Gandhi, who led the party for 19 years before passing on the reins to son Rahul Gandhi, is a member of the 23-member CWC. The panel also includes the party's senior-most leaders such as Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni and Ashok Gehlot. Mr Gandhi has also appointed 18 leaders such as P Chidambaram and Jyotiraditya Scindia as permanent invitees and another 10 as special invitees.
The announcement on Tuesday comes nearly five months after Mr Gandhi, 48, dissolved the earlier version of the CWC ahead of Congress' plenary session in March that ratified his election as the party's big boss.
Mr Gandhi had been keen to hold an election to the party's top body but was advised against the idea that could have been a distraction ahead of next year's general elections.
Congress leaders say Mr Gandhi had started overhauling the leadership of the Congress' state units soon after the plenary, starting with former union minister Jitendra Singh who was appointed as the party in-charge of Odisha.
Jitendra Singh replaced BK Hariprasad, who was also a member of the last version of the CWC.
Mr Hariprasad was among the party veterans on Tuesday who could not make a comeback to Rahul Gandhi's CWC.
CP Joshi, who has been seen to lose his influence in the party, also did not make it back.
Former minister Mukul Wasnik, Avinash Pande, KC Venugopal, Dipak Babaraia, Tamradhwaj Sahu, Gaikhangam, are among the new faces in the top panel. The permanent invitees include former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, Randeep Surjewala, Balasaheb Thorat, Tariq Hameed Karra and PC Chacko.
INC COMMUNIQUE— Congress (@INCIndia) July 17, 2018
Announcement of the constitution of the Congress Working Committee and the Permanent and Special invitees to the CWC. pic.twitter.com/x9uBsEOZa7