The much-anticipated 85th plenary session of Congress, touted to be a game changer for the party, has got underway at state capital Raipur on Friday amid heightened pressure from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on its embattled Chhattisgarh government headed by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
The mega event commenced with a Congress Steering Committee meeting. The two-hour long meeting was attended by 47 members, including party’s national president Mallikarjun Kharge and Baghel at the convention hall near the summit venue. Reports suggest the possibility of a decision being taken on the Congress Working Committee Election during the meeting. A few amendments in the party constitution may also be cleared during the session.
Former Congress president and senior party leader Rahul Gandhi is expected to attend the meet on Friday, but he may not be available at the meeting during the last two days as he is busy with his proposed lecture in the Cambridge University. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is scheduled to attend the session on Saturday. Although arrangements for her accommodation at the venue and the hotel have been made, it’s not clear whether Sonia Gandhi will also attend the meet.
The plenary session is held in central India for the first time after the Tripuri summit in 1939 when Subhash Chandra Bose defeated Mahatma Gandhi’s nominee Pattabhi Sita Ramaiya. During the session, the party veterans are likely to evolve a roadmap to take on the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The party may also discuss the proposed ‘Hath se Hath Jodo’ programme to rejuvenate its cadre after the success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
The strategy of the party for the 2024 parliamentary elections will remain at the core of the agenda of its marathon discussions with the like-minded Opposition parties for a greater Opposition unity and their continued insistence on the Congress to shun its notion of supremacy.
Meanwhile, the ongoing ED raids in Chhattisgarh and other states including Maharashtra, which once rendered the mega event under a cloud, may also be discussed. There was disquiet in the party when ED sleuths carried out raids on its leaders in Chhattisgarh barely a week before the summit.