New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday said the party top brass will deliberate and give direction on ways to strengthen opposition unity during the three-day plenary session to be held from February 24 in Raipur, asserting that any such effort without it would be unsuccessful.
Congress general secretary organisation K C Venugopal said the party’s steering committee would meet on the first day of the session and decide whether elections would be held for the party’s top decision-making body — the Congress Working Committee (CWC).
The Congress knows its role in bringing together various opposition parties for forging an alliance ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections to take on the BJP and oust it from power, he said.
”The Congress has already taken the initiative and has been in touch with various political parties. There is a clear-cut initiative taken by the Congress in bringing opposition parties together and we will certainly bring them together against the BJP in the 2024 elections,” Venugopal told a press conference here.
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”The direction on opposition unity will come from the party’s plenary session, where this issue will be deliberated upon,” he said and added that its main job is to defeat the BJP in 2024.
Venugopal said this plenary is clearly a reflection of the sentiments provided by the Bharat Jodo Yatra and an extension of the Udaipur Chintan Shivir.
Congress general secretary communications Jairam Ramesh said the party recognises that opposition unity is important and added that this issue will be deliberated upon at the plenary session.
”Nobody needs to give us a certificate that we have to lead because any opposition unity without the Congress will be unsuccessful. So, we welcome the statement of Nitish Kumar, and as Venugopal ji has said this will be discussed in the plenary and whatever we have to do for the 2024 polls,” he told reporters while taking a swipe at Bihar Chief Minister Kumar’s statement that the Congress should take the initiative in bringing opposition unity.
”But before that there are several assembly polls. But without a strong Congress, strong opposition unity is impossible,” Ramesh said.
The Congress welcomes the statement made by Chief Minister Kumar and ”he has acknowledged that the Bharat Jodo Yatra has had an impact not only on the Congress but on Indian politics”, he said.
”It is a tranformational moment for Indian politics, he has acknowledged,” Ramesh said.
”We welcome this and we know our role very well. The Congress is the only political party that has never made a compromise with the BJP anywhere. There are some opposition parties who come for (Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition) Mallikarjun Kharge’s meetings but their actions are in favour of the ruling party. We are not two-faced with respect to the BJP,” he said.
The Congress is opposed to the BJP and it wants a joint parliamentary committee probe into the Adani issue, Ramesh said.
He said there would be deliberations on things such as whether there would be a pre-poll alliance or other such modalities, and pointed out that the Congress was in alliance with several parties in various states.
Venugopal said the agenda for the three-day 85th plenary session of the party from February 24 to 26 would be finalised in the steering committee meeting to be held on the first day and thereafter, the subjects committee will give final shape to it.
Around 15,000 delegates would participate in the plenary session and would deliberate on several issues including political, social, economic and those related to the youth.
Giving a break-up of the delegates, he said there are 1,338 All India Congress Committee delegates and 487 co-opted ones, which comes to a total of 1,825 delegates. Besides, there will be a total of 9,915 Pradesh Congress Committee delegates attending the session.
Party treasurer Pawan Kumar Bansal said the session will end with a public rally in Raipur, which top leaders will address.
Kumari Selja, who is the AICC general secretary in-charge for Chattisgarh, said of the total AICC delegates, there are 235 women and 501 below 50 years of age. Besides, there will be 704 from the general category, 228 from among minorities, 381 from other backward classes, 192 from among scheduled castes and another 133 from among the scheduled tribes.