Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday inducted Sachin Pilot, who has been at loggerheads with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for three years now, and Shashi Tharoor, who contested the party presidential election against him (Kharge) last year, into the reconstituted Congress Working Committee (CWC).
Other debutants on the 39-member list of CWC members, announced on the birth anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, are Assam Lok Sabha Member Gaurav Gogoi, who moved the no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government in the monsoon session of Parliament, which is further evidence of his rising graph in the party, West Bengal leader Deepa Das Munshi and Rajya Sabha member, and Kharge’s aide Syed Naseer Hussain.
Anand Sharma, one of the signatories to the G23 letter, the ginger group within the party that had called for internal reforms, retains his spot in the CWC, as does Mukul Wasnik. Fellow signatory Manish Tewari, a Lok Sabha member, is now a permanent invitee.
Interesting entrants to the list of CWC members are former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya (minister in Rajasthan), and Tamradhwaj Sahu (minister in Chhattisgarh). Kharge has been credited with resolving differences in the party’s state units, including in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, and the list is proof of that.
The list comes with Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Mizoram slated for the polls in November-December this year and the Lok Sabha elections in April-May next year. Apart from the 39 general members, the reconstituted CWC will have 32 permanent invitees and those in charge of states and 13 special invitees and ex-officio members.
Kharge announced the reconstituted CWC 10 months after he was elected Congress president and six months after the party’s Raipur plenary, which authorised him to “nominate” the new CWC. However, the plenary had proposed reserving 50 per cent of the seats for the youth, Dalits, tribals, women, Other Backward Classes, and minorities in the CWC. Kharge’s effort has fallen short. Only six women are among the 39 CWC members -- Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ambika Soni, Meira Kumar, Dasmunshi, and Kumari Selja.
Pilot and Gogoi are the only ones below 50.
There are nine more women among permanent and special invitees, such as Meenakshi Natarajan, Supriya Shrinate, Alka Lamba, and Praniti Shinde, daughter of former Maharashtra chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde. Of those below 50, Deepender Singh Hooda is a permanent invitee, and Kanhaiya Kumar finds place as an “in-charge”. Pawan Khera and Gurdeep Sappal are a couple of new entrants on the list of invitees and in-charges.
Several members of the old panel are part of the 39 CWC members. They include P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh, A K Antony, Ashok Chavan, Digvijaya Singh, and Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
Tharoor, Pilot, Tewari, and several other new appointees thanked the Congress president and the Gandhi family on X (earlier Twitter).
Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, former presidents of the party, and former prime minister Manmohan Singh are permanent members of the CWC.