Sonia forms panel to prepare party agenda on govt ordinances


New Delhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday constituted a five-member committee to formulate the party’s stance on key ordinances promulgated by the central government.

A press release by party general secretary in charge of organisation KC Venugopal said Rajya Sabha members and former Union ministers P Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh, Lok Sabha members Amar Singh and Gaurav Gogoi will be the five members of the panel.

Ramesh will be the convener of the committee, the release said.

The government is planning to bring in 11 ordinances in the 18-day monsoon session of Parliament beginning September 14. If any ordinance lapses, the government can re-promulgate it.

In another decision, Sonia Gandhi named former general secretary in charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande as chairman of the party’s screening committee for the upcoming Bihar assembly elections. Pande’s removal from Rajasthan was a key demand of party rebel legislators led by former state deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot.

Pande will be assisted in shortlisting party candidates for the Bihar polls by two young leaders, Devender Yadav and Qazi Nizamuddin.

The decisions came two days after a stormy Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting that asked Sonia Gandhi to stay on as party chief until a new president is elected. The CWC members also came down heavily on 23 dissenters who in a letter written to Gandhi had, among other things, sought a complete overhaul of the organisation, a full-time and active president, and a parliamentary board.

Sonia Gandhi and former party president Rahul Gandhi spoke to some of the dissenters after the CWC meet in a bid to bring about peace. On Wednesday, Sonia Gandhi chaired a meeting of opposition chief ministers, including Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra) and Hemant Soren (Jharkhand), on the issues of goods and services tax compensation, and the NEET and JEE exams.

At the meeting, Thackeray congratulated Sonia Gandhi for once again assuming the reins of the Congress party.



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