The meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Tuesday decided to “go to people’’ to counter the Opposition’s ‘onslaught’ against the UPA Government’s reform measures.

The two-hour-long meeting, held at 10 Janpath, the residence of the party President Sonia Gandhi endorsed the Government’s recent reform measures, particularly FDI in retail.

Sources in the party’s highest decision-making panel said the meeting was held to send out the message that there was whole-hearted support for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his reform announcements within the party. Sonia Gandhi chaired the meeting and about 30 CWC members and invitees attended it.

Chief spokesperson of the party Janardhan Dwivedi said the party President criticised the BJP for its negative politics. He said she hailed the Government’s reform decisions as the ‘right step” and said such measures were necessary.

No threat to Govt

Sonia Gandhi said the UPA Government faced no threat after withdrawal of support from the Trinamool Congress, as Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party had reiterated that they would continue to back the UPA.

The Prime Minister told the meeting that the Government stood for the common man. He said the UPA’s flagship programmes could be implemented properly only if the economy was “sound”. Some members are learnt to have urged the Centre to shift its focus to implementing the flagship schemes.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram briefed the meeting about the recent policy initiatives. He said such measures were important to ensure that the ongoing global slowdown in economy would not affect the country.

The Congress spokesperson said there were no discussions on the Cabinet reshuffle and the Telangana issue. Dwivedi added that no member in the CWC objected to the reform measures.

Reshuffle soon

Though there was no discussion on Cabinet reshuffle, Congress leaders indicated that new members would be inducted soon.

“The reshuffle will happen either on Friday or Saturday,” a top leader told Business Line.

While some senior Ministers may be asked to focus on party work, one or two AICC general secretaries may be inducted into the Cabinet, he said, adding that the party needed more time to take a final call on Telangana.

jigeesh.am@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 25, 2012)
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