CWC likely to ask Sonia to choose presidential nominee (Lead)

May 29th, 2012 - 10:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) A meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) has been called June 4 to discuss the current political situation, with the party’s highest decision-making body also expected to pass a resolution authorising party chief Sonia Gandhi to choose the presidential nominee, party sources said.

The CWC meeting comes days ahead of the notification for presidential polls, expected by the middle of June.

“The CWC is likely to pass a resolution urging Congress president to take a decision on party’s presidential candidate,” a senior party leader, who spoke on the condition of anynomity, told IANS.

The names of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari have been doing the rounds as possible Congress candidates but the party has not indicated its choice so far. Party leaders have also not ruled out the possibility of a dark horse emerging.

There also have been reports about some partymen campaigning to push Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Rashtrapati Bhavan but a senior leader told IANS that such a scenario was unlikely.

Officially, the Congress has refused to comment on a question that the prime minister had thrown his hat in the ring and insisted that the office of president should not be brought within the realm of speculation.

Congress has held discussions with its allies in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) on the presidential candidate and another round of consultations was likely to be held before the party declares the name of its candidate, party sources said. The term of President Pratibha Patil ends in July this year.

The CWC meeting is likely to take stock of the party’s performance in the assembly polls in five states earlier this year and its preparations for the assembly polls later this year in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had set up a panel headed by Defence Minister A.K. Antony to analyse the party’s performance in the polls. The panel has submitted its report.

While the Congress retained Manipur and was able to scrape past the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form a government in Uttarakhand, it suffered reverses in Punjab and Goa. The party also fared poorly in Uttar Pradesh.

Party sources said the CWC was likely to discuss the political fallout of the recent hike in price of petrol which has rallied political parties against the Congress. The meeting is expected to take stock of the impact of strike calls by opposition parties May 31 against the hike.

With economic parameters, including rising inflation and depreciating value of rupee, causing concern among the common man and threatening to impact the “aam aadmi” plank of the Congress, the CWC meeting is expected to deliberate ways to provide a cushion to people.

Party sources said the political problems in Andhra Pradesh in view of demands for separate state of Telangana and arrest of YSR Congress Party leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy in a disproportionate assets case may also come up for discussion.

The sources said the meeting will also discuss ways to reach out to people with the anti-corruption legislative measures and other initiatives of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in the wake of reports that the ruling alliance was lagging behind the opposition in the “battle of perception” among people.

They said party chief ministers, state unit presidents, special invitees and permanent invitees expected to attend the meeting of “extended CWC.”

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