In an unusual move, Rahul Gandhi has convened a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Friday ahead of the announcement by the Election Commission, likely by February-end or early March, of Lok Sabha election schedule. Sources said it would be an informal meeting but this is the first time Rahul has convened a meeting of the highest decision making body of the Congress ever since he was elevated as Congress vice-president.
Sources said Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will not be present. Rahul had earlier chaired meetings of general secretaries and officebearers and chief ministers separately. Rahul’s decision to meet CWC members triggered speculation of a reshuffle in the party ahead of elections. Sources said ahead of his meeting with CWC members, Rahul will meet some young leaders including MPs on Thursday.
Friday’s will be the first meeting of the CWC members after January, on eve of the AICC session, where it was decided against projecting Rahul as Prime Ministerial candidate.
Senior leaders said the agenda of the meeting is not yet clear.
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Rahul and the Congress arefacing an unprecedented challenge from the BJP and its prime ministerial face Narendra Modi. The strategy session comes when the party is hard pressed to find allies in states like Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh and is yet to conclude seat sharing talks with RJD and LJP in Bihar. The AICC session in January had given a call to “all secular parties” to join hands against “divisive forces” but in the days after that several regional players came together and made it clear that a third front would take shape before general elections.