Sonia Gandhi forms task force for 2024 Lok Sabha polls


The Hindu

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Sonia Gandhi forms task force for 2024 Lok Sabha polls

Former Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, his deputy Anand Sharma, former poll strategist Sunil Kanugolu are among the members who have been named as part of the Political Affairs Group (PAG) and the Task Force for 2024 Lok Sabha polls by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday.

A nine-member central planning committee for the ‘Bharat Jodo yatra’, beginning on October 2 from Kanyakumari, has also been constituted. All these panels are a follow-up of the announcements made by Gandhi in her concluding address of the ‘Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir’ at Udaipur on May 15.

The presence of Azad and Sharma in the PAG committee is significant as both are members of the G-23, the ginger group pushing for internal reforms. Amidst G-23 demands for the restoration of the Congress Parliamentary Board for collective decision-making, the PAG is a compromise to partially accommodate this demand.

While announcing it on May 15, Gandhi had said, “The new group is not a collective decision-making body but will help me get the benefit of the vast experience of senior colleagues”.

Other members of this group include former party chief Rahul Gandhi, Gandhi family loyalists like Mallikarjun Kharge, Ambika Soni, Digvijaya Singh, K.C. Venugopal and Jitendra Singh.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is heading the Task Force that includes party strategist Jairam Ramesh, Mukul Wasnik, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ajay Maken, Randeep Surjewala and former poll strategist Sunil Kanugolu.

Kanugolu is a former aide of poll strategist Prashant Kishor and is currently handling poll management in Karnataka and Telangana, both States that go to polls next year. Unlike Kishor, he is known to keep a low profile.

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh will head the ‘Bharat Jodo yatra’ planning committee that will also include members like Sachin Pilot, Shashi Tharoor and Ravneet Singh Bittu.

The yatra is a major attempt by the Congress to reconnect with the masses and is expected to cover 3,500 km across 12 States over five to six months.

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