CWC to review Congress manifesto

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CWC meeting on March 25 to review the draft and decide on twin seats for Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) will meet in Delhi on March 25 for the second time in less than two weeks to review the party’s preparedness for the Lok Sabha election and endorse its manifesto.

CWC members, however, said key issues such as whether or not party president Rahul Gandhi should contest from a second seat in one of the southern States could also come up for discussion. “It will mainly focus on the manifesto, but important political issues will come up since the election is less than a month away,” a CWC member said.

Congress leaders said the party hoped to release the manifesto on April 2 once it was approved by the CWC, the highest decision-making body. The manifesto would reflect some of the key announcements Mr. Gandhi made at recent public meetings, they said.

Mr. Gandhi has announced a minimum income guarantee scheme, 33% government posts for women, affordable education, the right to healthcare and so on. At the March 12 CWC meeting in Ahmedabad, general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra suggested that the income guarantee scheme have a Hindi acronym: Nyay (meaning justice) or Nyuntam Aay Yojana (minimum income scheme). Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who heads the manifesto committee, informed the CWC that the draft was almost ready.

The issue of completing alliances could also be discussed, another CWC member said. The Congress has concluded a seat-sharing agreement in Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, but the talks between the party and the Left Front in West Bengal collapsed. An alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party for the seven constituencies in Delhi, however, is pending as the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) is divided over the issue. While several leaders back a tie-up, DPCC president Sheila Dikshit is against it. However, she wrote to Mr. Gandhi last week that she would go by the leadership’s decision to prevent division of the anti-BJP votes.

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