India

CWC defers decision to elect new party president until June


It demands a joint parliamentary committee probe into Republic TV promoter Arnab Goswami’s WhatsApp chats.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Friday deferred a decision to elect a new party president until June, even as it adopted three resolutions, including one demanding a joint parliamentary committee probe into Republic TV promoter Arnab Goswami’s WhatsApp chats.

The other two resolutions were about backing farmers’ organisations in the ‘decisive’ fight against the farm laws and expressing gratitude to scientists for developing COVID-19 vaccine in record time. The party appealed to citizens to come out and vaccinate themselves.

Explaining the reason for the delay, party general secretaries K.C. Venugopal and Randeep Surjewala said though the central election authority had suggested May, it was deferred in the wake of Assembly elections to Assam, Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Another issue that needed some clarity was whether the election of CWC members (12 out of 25 are meant to be elected) should be held along with the party president or later once the new President took charge, Mr. Venugopal said.

In her opening remarks to the CWC, party president Sonia Gandhi touched upon all the issues that were adopted as resolutions and accused the government of a “deafening silence” over the WhatsApp chats.

Farmers’ agitation

Referring to the ongoing talks between the Centre and farmers, she said, “The agitation of farmers continues and the government has shown shocking insensitivity and arrogance going through the charade of consultations”.

“It is abundantly clear that the three laws were prepared in haste and Parliament was consciously denied an opportunity for examining in any meaningful detail their implications and impacts. Our position has been very clear from the very beginning: we reject them categorically because they will destroy the foundations of food security that are based on the three pillars of MSP [minimum support price], public procurement and PDS [public distribution system],” she observed.

Without naming the Republic TV promoter, she said, “I think just a few days back, Antonyji said that leaking official secrets of military operations is treason. Yet, the silence from the government side on what has been revealed has been deafening. Those who give certificates of patriotism and nationalism to others now stand totally exposed.”

COVID-19 handling

Ms. Gandhi expressed the confidence that vaccination of front line health professionals and workers will be done to the fullest extent. She accused the government of inflicting untold suffering on people through its ‘poor’ management of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It will take years for the scars to heal,” she said.

While the economic situation remained grim, the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) had been decimated and the government was spending money on personal vanity projects instead of prioritising public expenditure.

“Equally anguishing is the manner in which the government has weakened labour and environmental laws and its moving ahead with the sell-off of carefully built-up public assets. Panic privatisation has gripped the government and this is something the Congress can never accept and support,” she added.

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