The Congress Workers Committee (CWC) meeting in Hyderabad passed a resolution on Saturday, 16 September, committing itself to making the Opposition INDIA bloc a resounding “ideological and electoral success”.
The primary objective of this endeavor is to liberate the nation from the grip of “divisive politics” and ensure that the people are governed by an administration that embodies sensitivity and accountability.
In its first meeting, the newly-reconstituted CWC — the party’s highest decision-making body — wholeheartedly embraced the ongoing consolidation of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), asserting that it has already made waves, causing consternation in the BJP and discomfiture to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Congress party held the crucial meeting of its CWC in the capital of Telangana to also convey its determination to challenge the state’s BRS government in the Assembly elections expected by year-end.
The meeting was attended by key party leaders, including Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, former chiefs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Chief Ministers Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan, Bhupesh Baghel of Chhattisgarh, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu of Himachal Pradesh, and Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah, as well as senior party officials like KC Venugopal and Jairam Ramesh.
The CWC meeting began around 3 pm after a flag-hoisting ceremony at the Taj Krishna hotel in Hyderabad.
Congress leaders South First reached out to said that discussions about the upcoming Assembly elections in five states — Telangana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram — and the Lok Sabha elections in early 2024, would be held on Day 2 of the CWC on Sunday.
CWC passes 14 resolutions
On the first day of the CWC meeting, a total of 14 resolutions were passed, reflecting the party’s stance on critical issues and its vision for the future of the country.
These resolutions encompassed a wide range of topics — from national security, economic challenges, and constitutional values, to the party’s commitment to social justice and unity.
The CWC expressed grave concern over the “escalating unemployment and the persistent surge in prices, particularly of essential goods”. It also criticised Prime Minister Modi’s “Rozgar Melas” as a deceptive cover-up for the failure to fulfill the promise of creating two crore jobs annually.
The CWC decried the failure to conduct the decennial Census, which was due in 2021,labeling it as a matter of both national and international shame.
This lapse has resulted in an estimated 14 crore of the most impoverished Indians being deprived of their entitlement to food rations, as ration cards are issued based on the 2011 Census, it said.
Party calls for caste census
The party underscored the Modi government’s obstinate refusal to conduct a caste census, which has been universally demanded, and said it revealed the BJP’s lack of commitment to social and economic justice, as well as its bias against marginalised groups, Dalits, and tribal communities.
In light of these pressing issues, the CWC called for an expansion of the existing upper limit for reservations for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
The CWC condoled the families of brave army and police officers martyred in Jammu & Kashmir recently. It criticised the BJP and Prime Minister Modi for celebrating at the G20 summit while this tragedy unfolded.
The CWC expressed concern about the breakdown of constitutional machinery in Manipur, and said it was caused by the BJP’s polarisation agenda. It called for the removal of the state’s chief minister and imposition of President’s Rule, as well as efforts to restore order and encourage dialogue among different groups.
The CWC reaffirmed the Congress party’s determination to transform the INDIA initiative into both an ideological and electoral triumph.
The bloc’s overarching goal was to steer the country away from divisive and polarising politics, bolster the forces of social equity and justice, and provide the people with a Union government that embodies responsibility, responsiveness, sensitivity, transparency, and accountability, the CWC said.
BJP fuelling conflicts: Kharge
Highlighting the pressing challenges facing India, Congress president Kharge, in remarks during the CWC meeting, accused the BJP of exacerbating internal conflicts, citing incidents in Manipur and Haryana as examples that tarnish India’s progressive and secular image.
He expressed concern about the government’s intentions in the upcoming special parliamentary session, suggesting it aimed to diminish Opposition voices and control the Election Commission of INdia.
He called for immediate initiation of the 2021 Census, including a caste census, to safeguard the rights of marginalised sections in areas such as health, education, employment, and food security.
Sharing opening remarks at the historic Congress Working Committee Meeting at Hyderabad.
• I extend you all a very warm welcome to this First Meeting of the newly constituted CWC in this brimming city of Hyderabad.
• Indian National Congress has been playing a pivotal role… pic.twitter.com/rSIJ7hQ2Ho
— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) September 16, 2023
Asserting that the Congress has been playing the role of the main Opposition for the last decade, he claimed: “The party has forced the Narendra Modi government to take many important decisions in the interest of the common people.”
“Today, the country is facing many serious internal challenges. The whole world witnessed the heart-wrenching incidents in Manipur. Violence has been continuing there since May.”
“The Modi government ensured that the fire of Manipur violence reached Nuh in Haryana. Due to incidents of violence there, communal tension spread in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi,” alleged Kharge.
He continued: “These incidents tarnish the image of a modern, progressive, and secular India. In these circumstances, the ruling party, communal organisations, and a section of the media are adding fuel to the fire.”
“It destroys the secular fabric of the country. We have to together identify and expose such forces,” the Congress chief asserted.
INDIA alliance’s impact
Congress chief Kharge also discussed the success of the INDIA bloc’s three meetings, noting that attacks by Prime Minister Modi and other BJP leaders indicate the alliance’s impact.
“As the alliance progresses, attacks by the ruling party will intensify, and the 27 INDIA bloc parties must stand united on fundamental issues,” Kharge said.
He accused the government of excessive self-praise following the G20 event, highlighting the substantial expenditure on the summit. He also criticised the Modi government’s slogans — like ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, ‘₹5 trillion economy’, ‘New India 2022’, ‘Amritkaal’, and ‘third-largest economy’ — as empty distractions from critical issues.
Kharge said: “These are hollow words meant to distract the country from the government’s complete failure in controlling inflation, unemployment, raging violence in Manipur, widening inequality, and the declining condition of farmers and labourers.”
He re-emphasised the Congress’ commitment to protect the Constitution, the country’s democracy, and the rights of marginalised communities.
“The country’s economy is in grave danger with the rise in prices of all essential commodities adversely affecting the lives of the common people. The Modi government is handing over prized PSUs built since Independence to a few crony-capitalist friends,” charged the Congress chief.
Commenting on the latest developments pertaining to the Chinese intruding into Indian territory, he said: “On the national security front, the government’s negligence regarding China’s encroachments poses a critical danger to the country’s security.”
“However, ignoring all these fundamental issues, the Modi government tends to repeatedly deflect and divert attention from real issues with empty slogans,” added Kharge.
कांग्रेस कार्यसमिति की बैठक
📍 हैदराबाद, तेलंगाना pic.twitter.com/7IfcXGIXOd
— Congress (@INCIndia) September 16, 2023
‘Pass Women’s Reservation Bill in Special Session’
The Congress party has called for the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill during the upcoming special session of Parliament, slated to start on 18 September.
The CWC, in a resolution, expressed concern about the lack of parliamentary debate and scrutiny, highlighting that important legislations are being rushed through without proper discussions.
The CWC specifically pointed to the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment etc) Bill, stating that it would impact the Election Commission’s independence and its responsibility to hold free and fair elections.
The sudden announcement of a special parliamentary session prompted the CWC to identify nine critical issues for public debate, as outlined in a letter from Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to Prime Minister Modi.
The Women’s Reservation Bill, which seeks to provide reservation for women in Parliament, is a key demand by the Congress. The CWC’s call aligns with renewed efforts to pass the Bill, and there is speculation that it might be taken up during the upcoming five-day special session of Parliament starting on Monday.
The Bill had previously been passed during the tenure of the Manmohan Singh-led government around 11 years ago, but had not been enacted into law.
Focus on Telangana
Earlier in the day, Mallikarjun Kharge on his X (formerly twitter) handle shared a message from former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Gandhi emphasised the Congress’s commitment to fulfilling promises made to the people of Telangana, particularly referring to the state’s creation after Andhra Pradesh’s bifurcation in 2014.
Sonia Gandhi stated: “The Congress has consistently supported the aspirations of Telangana’s residents.”
She further expressed the party’s dedication to leading Telangana into a new era of prosperity, with the Congress prepared to contribute to the state’s development with dignity for all its people.
Rahul Gandhi, in a pre-meeting Facebook post, reiterated the Congress’s commitment to addressing the concerns of the common people and striving to provide them with a government that upholds their rights and fulfills their aspirations.