Ashok Tuteja, Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 3. The Congress Working Committee (CWC) will hold a crucial meeting here tomorrow to discuss the current political situation and the challenges faced by the UPA government on the economic front.
The meeting of the highest policy-making body of the party will be presided over by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, top Congress ministers, party chief ministers, Congress legislature party leaders and other senior leaders.
This is the first meeting of the CWC since the party’s dismal performance in the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa earlier this year. The meeting is expected to discuss the party’s poor showing in the Assembly elections as also the report of the A K Antony panel on the electoral drubbing. Leaders from the poll-bound states like Karnataka, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are likely to be asked to spell out their preparedness for the elections.
With the Presidential election scheduled to be held next month, senior party leaders say the issue might figure informally at the meeting. However, a final decision in the matter would only be taken by the Congress chief. The CWC may authorise her to hold consultations with UPA allies and also Opposition parties on the issue.
The CWC could also discuss the trouble being given to the UPA dispensation by the Trinamool Congress on almost every critical issue. The recent hike in petrol price has upset not only the Trinamool Congress but other allies as well. Even some senior Congress leaders have joined the chorus to demand that the hike be withdrawn.
The joint campaign by Baba Ramdev and Team Anna on the issue of corruption and their agitation in the capital today could also come up at the meeting. Congress leaders say the UPA government is committed to combating corruption but assert that they would not surrender to the dictates of any group on this score and go by the will of Parliament.
The meeting could see the passage of a resolution calling for effective steps to provide relief to common man grappling with the rise in prices of essential commodities.
The sharp fall in the rupee and the plummeting GDP growth rate have added to the woes of not only the UPA government but also the Congress leadership. The party is worried that the grim economic situation could affect its prospects in the upcoming assembly polls too.
The CWC is expected to indicate the party’s stand on the need for the government to push some big-ticket reforms to give a push to the economy. Recently Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had indicated that the time had come for the government to ‘bite the bullet’ on economic reforms.
The government was also said to be considering pushing for Foreign Direct Investment in retail even if some of its allies refuse to come on board.