Congress announces 'Empowered Action Group' for 2024; silent on PK
Congress held a crucial meeting on Monday during which party chief Sonia Gandhi decided to constitute an "Empowered Action Group" for the 2024 general elections. After the meeting, spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters this panel will address Congress's political challenges. Poll strategist Prashant Kishor's recommendations to revive Congress were also discussed in the meeting. However, Surjewala avoided answering questions about Kishor's Congress entry.
- On Friday, a Congress panel appointed by Sonia Gandhi to devise a revival strategy—as per Kishor's suggestions—submitted a report on its "findings."
- Kishor has been in the news of late after he held a series of meetings with top Congress leaders.
- Kishor has reportedly delivered a 600-slide presentation with a multi-point strategy to the Congress leadership and is expected to join the party, too.
When asked if Congress has made a decision on Prashant Kishor's entry, Surjewala reportedly gave an indirect response. He said once the Empowered Action Group is formed, the members and their roles will be revealed. He, however, stated Congress will hold a "Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir" in Udaipur, Rajasthan, from May 13-15, to discuss organizational changes and other issues to strengthen the party.
"Issues relating to the welfare...well-being and the trampling upon of the rights of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, backward classes, minorities, kisan and khet majdoors, religious and linguistic minorities, women, social justice, and empowerment will all be deliberated in the Nav [Sankalp Chintan] Shivir," Surjewala said.
The developments came after political consultancy firm I-PAC signed a deal with Congress rival—Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)—for its 2023 Assembly poll campaign. While Kishor's association with I-PAC officially ended, he is said to be privy to all of the organization's decisions. Many Congress members are reportedly upset with the I-PAC-TRS deal—signed at a time when Kishor was in talks with Congress for his entry.
Notably, last week, an eight-member Congress panel formed by Gandhi found most suggestions made by Kishor "practical and useful," Times Now reported. The committee comprised Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, KC Venugopal, Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik, and Randeep Singh Surjewala, among others. The panel also reportedly sought a strict overview of the proposed changes to ensure Congress's future, ideological commitment, and that workers are kept intact.
Though talks are reportedly still ongoing, many Congress leaders are wary of working with Kishor because of his advisory roles with rival parties such as West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress.