Congress Plenary Session: Party constitution to reserve 50% posts for women, SC/STs

Update: 2023-02-25 19:25 GMT
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge along with party leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Bhupesh Baghel, K.C. Venugopal and Pawan Bansal releases a book during the 85th Plenary Session of the Indian National Congress, in Raipur, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. (PTI Photo)

NEW DELHI: In its political resolution presented at the 85th plenary session, the Congress on Saturday made a bid to align with like-minded political parties for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The resolution said, "Unity of secular and socialist forces will be the hallmark of the future of the Congress party. The Congress should go all out to identify, mobilise and align like-minded secular forces."

Addressing the plenary, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that the party is willing to forge a viable alternative by aligning with like-minded parties in order to defeat the "anti-people" BJP government in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. He said the Congress is ready to make any sacrifice required to achieve the goal. He further added that in the prevailing "difficult" circumstances, the Congress is the only party that can provide capable and decisive leadership to the country.

Cracks in the Opposition's unity were visible when the Congress and the TMC took potshots at each other. The SP, JD(U), and RJD also skipped the closing ceremony of Rahul Gandhi led Bharat Jodo Yatra. However, the political resolution of the Congress is looking at a 2004 type rainbow alliance with like-minded parties.

According to the other clauses of the draft political resolution, the Congress promised that it will pass a new law to prevent and punish hate crimes.

The draft resolution also talked about the "threat to the judiciary". It read: "The judiciary is constantly threatened by direct and indirect measures that create apprehensions in their minds. Unfortunately, the law minister himself is leading the blatant attack on the judiciary. Congress promises that the independence and integrity of the judiciary will be maintained and protected at all costs."

The Congress alleged that free discussions and debate in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies have been curtailed. It also talked about the misuse of the governors. The party reiterated its stand to extend special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

The draft resolution also talked about electoral bonds and said that issues arising from the EVM will again be taken up with the Election Commission and then in courts.

On anti-defection, the draft resolution said, "The Congress pioneered the constitutional amendment on anti-defection and took several measures during the UPA-2 government to strengthen it. Since 2014, the BJP has engineered mass defections, purchased legislators and thus toppled democratically elected government after government. The Congress will amend the Constitution to eliminate such practices."

The draft political resolution asserted that the Congress will prepare a vision document for 2024, following the largest-ever mass contact programme, which will encompass issues of unemployment, eradication of poverty, inflation, women empowerment, job creation and national security.

The Congress also amended its constitution at its 85th plenary session to provide a 50 per cent reservation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes (OBCs), women, youngsters and minorities in its working committee.

According to the amended constitution of the party, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) will now include the former Prime Ministers from the party and the former AICC chiefs. The number of CWC members will go up to 35 from the earlier 25.

In the economic resolution, the party pitched "A New Economic Vision for India" with a new economic performance metric that correlates to India’s living standard and economic mobility, doing away from gauging economic progress through the gross domestic product. The resolution also added that "labour intensity should be the primary benchmark for evaluating all policy options, not mere production".

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