Rahul Gandhi has indicated that his team will be in place soon beginning with a revamped CWC. A three-day plenary session of the AICC is tipped to take place in the second week of March to oversee elections for 10 of the 20 members of the CWC. (According to the Congress constitution, 10 members are to be elected, while 10 can be nominated by the party president. However, the last time elections were held was during Sitaram Kesri’s presidency in 1997. Sonia Gandhi had done away with the election route.) Party workers are keenly watching to see who makes it not just to the CWC, but also to the crucial posts of political secretary and party treasurer. Currently, Ahmed Patel and Motilal Vohra hold these posts. And contrary to speculation, Patel still plays an important role within the Congress, but sources say Rahul is planning to appoint a panel of political secretaries instead of sticking to just one. This decision has both its merits and minuses—would it cause confusion or make the party president more accessible? As for the party treasurer, one of Rahul’s confidants, Kanishka Singh is said to be shortlisted for the job. However, there will also be a deputy treasurer—again this is said to be someone from GenNext. Expect a lot of buzz at the party HQ post Holi!
Madhya Pradesh Semi-Finals?
Byelections to the two Madhya Pradesh Assembly seats of Mungaoli and Kolaras that took place on 24 Febuary are being seen as the semi-finals for the state polls due towards the end of the year. What gives these two seats so much heft is the fact that both fall within Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia’s constituency Guna. These were earlier held by the Congress and since Scindia is tipped to be the Congress party’s CM face in the coming polls, it has become a battle of prestige for the BJP to wrest these away. And so, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been camping in the Guna belt along with a chunk of his ministers to ensure Congress defeat. Scindia’s aunt and state minister Yashoraje Scindia has also been drafted to campaign in the area. If the Congress retains these seats, then it will cite the win to bolster its claims of a comeback in the state; but if it loses even one of the two, then there are those within the party who will use the loss to target Scindia’s bid for the Chief Minister’s mantle. This has given an added edge to the bypolls.
Rajya Sabha Factoid
Elections to 58 Rajya Sabha seats will be held on 23 March. Of these, a chunk of 15 is tipped to go to the BJP which currently has the largest share of the seats with 58 MPs. However, this will still not give it the outright majority it needs in the Upper House, i.e., 123 seats in the 245-strong House.