Curious case of ex-Cong Chief Rahul Gandhi’s CWC membership

The official website of the All India Congress Committee has Rahul Gandhi’s name right on top, after Manmohan Singh, in a list of 24 members of CWC, the party’s highest decision-making body.

BCCL
NEW DELHI: Congress circles are pondering about the constitutional and procedural route used for making Rahul Gandhi a member of the Sonia Gandhi-led Congress Working Committee without a formal announcement. Gandhi had quit as Congress president, upholding the ‘principle of accountability’, while expressing desire to serve the party as an ordinary worker.

The official website of the All India Congress Committee has Rahul Gandhi’s name right on top, after Manmohan Singh, in a list of 24 members of CWC, the party’s highest decision-making body.

The remaining 23 are part of the transitory CWC. Though a CWC without the Gandhi family may be psychologically alien to the Congress leadership today, Rahul’s quiet inclusion raises questions as the party constitution has no provision for a former president to automatically become a CWC member after demitting office.


Article XIX of the Congress constitution says “the working committee shall consist of the president of the Congress, the leader of the Congress Party in Parliament and 23 other members of whom 12 will be elected by the AICC, as per rules prescribed by the working committee, and the rest appointed by the president”.

There is no provision for automatic inclusion of a former Congress president in CWC and the ‘normal route’ was for the Congress president to formally nominate him to CWC, with an announcement.

When Rahul became Congress chief in 2017, Sonia Gandhi remained CWC member in her ex-officio capacity as CPP leader. Similarly Narasimha Rao continued in CWC till he was ousted from the CPP post by the Sitaram Kesri-led CWC. After Kesri was sacked, Sonia Gandhi made Rao and Kesri invitees to CWC through formal nominations.
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When asked how Rahul Gandhi became a CWC member without a formal nomination, as he is not the CPP leader to gain automatic entry, a key AICC functionary said, “CWC is yet to meet after Soniaji became interim Congress president. We may make a clarification in the CWC meeting.” Some party leaders feel just as CWC had ‘creatively interpreted’ rules to sack Kesri, it could resort to invoke rules “to relax application of provision under various Articles” vis-à-vis CWC inclusions. Incidentally, Rahul’s resignation had said “it is a habit in India that the powerful cling to power, no one sacrifices power”.
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