What is CWC that Congress is trying to revive?
Following party tradition, Mallikarjun Kharge, the new Congress president, dissolved the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and replaced it with a Steering Committee – an interim panel before the CWC is reconstituted.
The 47-member Steering Committee includes Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and all CWC members. Former PM Manmohan Singh, AK Antony, Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Ajay Maken, Ambika Soni, Anand Sharma, Avinash Pande, KC Venugopal, Jairam Ramesh, Mukul Wasnik, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, P Chidambaram, Randeep Surjewala, Digvijaya Singh and Tariq Anwar are also part of the panel. All the members of the CWC have stepped down.
Interestingly, the name of Shashi Tharoor – who contested the Congress presidential poll against Kharge -- didn't figure in the list.
What is Congress Working Committee?
The CWC is the top decision-making body of Congress. It is the executive committee of the party. The committee is the center of power of the party. There have been no internal elections to the CWC for nearly 20 years. In 2017, the Election Commission ordered the party to hold the polls, but Congress is yet to do that.
As per the Congress constitution, the CWC consists of the president of the party, its leader in Parliament, and 23 other members -- 11 members are appointed by the party president and 12 are elected by the All India Congress Committee (AICC). AICC is the party's central decision-making assembly.
Kharge's election as the party chief will be ratified at the Congress plenary session likely to be held in March-April next year. It is taking place after 12 years – the last was organised at Burari, Delhi in 2010.
The new CWC will be reconstituted by Kharge after the session. It is expected the party will adopt new political and economic resolutions at the session.
Reconstitute and revive
Even though it is a convention that every Congress president follows after taking the reins of the party, the dissolution of CWC assumes significance this time as it comes just ahead of the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
The CWC will be reconstituted next year, but before that the organisational restructuring of the party will apparently start and the Steering Committee oversee this process.
Next year when the CWC is reconstituted, it will take the work of the Steering Committee forward. The overhauling of the party's internal administration has to be seamless and the new CWC is expected to do that.
The panel members will formulate party tactics and assign jobs to the working party chiefs in every state. Young and new members are expected to be inducted into the CWC to ensure the party shows a strong showing in the general elections in 2024.
The chances of the party's revival will depend on how well the members of the reconstituted CWC take their decisions with consensus and how relentlessly they are implemented on the ground.