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Congress Banks on Rahul Gandhi to Take Coalition Call Ahead of 2019 Battle Royale

Sources said the news of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav not wanting to ally with the grand old party was just posturing in an effort to get the maximum out of seat sharing.


Updated:July 22, 2018, 6:43 PM IST
Congress Banks on Rahul Gandhi to Take Coalition Call Ahead of 2019 Battle Royale
File photo of Congress president Rahul Gandhi with former chief Sonia Gandhi. (PTI)

New Delhi: The Congress Working Committee (CWC) has authorised party president Rahul Gandhi to finalise all pre-poll pacts ahead of the 2019 general elections, sending a clear message to potential and current allies as well as seeking to end any ambiguity on leadership issues.

The posturing of the highest decision-making body of the party aims to abrade perceptions and predilections of potential allies, who are reportedly more comfortable in dealing with former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

Even as the party projects Rahul as the decision-maker on possible alliances, regional leaders such as Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati and Sharad Pawar are known to enjoy a better rapport with Sonia.

On Sunday, several senior Congress leaders, including Ambika Soni and Mallikarjun Kharge, told CNN-News18 that the CWC has authorised Rahul to take the final call on forming alliances and devising a strategy for the 2019 elections. Kharge said, “The CWC has discussed the issue of alliances. A strategy is being formulated to see how it can be taken ahead in different states.”

The Congress also expressed confidence that it would forge an alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 polls.

Sources said the news of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav not wanting to ally with the grand old party was "just posturing in an effort to get the maximum out of seat sharing".

However, countering the Congress's claim, the SP said, “If the Congress wants any seats in UP in alliance, then it should accommodate us in assembly elections in all three states of MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan in a respectable manner.”

Earlier in the day, the Congress chief asked partymen to rise and fight for India's oppressed.

Calling the CWC an institution comprising experience and energy, he said, “The CWC evolved during freedom struggle. It’s a forum where India expressed, debated, contested and consented ideas to take the nation from colonial rule to freedom.” He added, "CWC gave voice to every single Indian. It accommodated views from different perspectives and gave space to the weakest voices of India. Our collective challenge is to shape our current CWC to that level."

Rahul also issued a warning to party leaders, saying, "I am fighting bigger fights. Everyone has the right to speak in party forum but if a party leader gives a wrong statement and weakens this fight, I will not hesitate to take action."

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, in his address, assured Rahul that he and all other Congressmen would help him in the onerous task of restoring India's social harmony and economic development.

“I assure Rahul Gandhiji that we will fully support him in his onerous task of restoring India’s social harmony and economic development, he said, rejecting the culture of constant ‘self praise and jumlas’ (gimmicks), as against solid policy framework for driving the engine of growth,” he said.

Singh said the claim of doubling farm income by 2022 will require an agricultural growth rate of 14 per cent, which is nowhere in sight.

The party said expansion of its vote base was one of their biggest tasks. "In each constituency, we have to find people who have not voted for us and develop a strategy to reach out to them and win back their trust."

(With PTI inputs)

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