New Delhi: In search of new allies ahead of Lok Sabha poll just 16 months away, Congress has roped in its veterans in the art of running coalitions in states like A K Antony.
Antony heads the party’s sub-group on Emerging Political Challenges formed for the ‘Chintan Shivir’ (brainstorming session) at a time when the talk in Congress is that alliance is inevitable for next parliamentary elections.
Besides Antony, the sub-group comprises Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who has run a coalition in Maharashtra, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit, who has ensured the party’s government in Delhi for three successive terms, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, former Nagaland Chief Minister S C Jameer and young Dalit leader Ashok Tanwar, a former Youth Congress President.
Kerala, where Antony was Chief Minister, is the first major state-level coalition being run by Congress successfully for several decades. The sub-group headed by Antony is one of the five panels which have been tasked to come out with a draft on various aspects.
Digvijaya Singh heads the sub group on Socio-Economic Challenges while External Affairs Minister S M Krishna heads the sub-group on India and the World (Foreign Policy). C P Joshi chairs the sub-group on Rural Development and Agriculture and Girija Vyas heads the one on Organizational Strength.
A significant aspect of the sub-group on economy is that it comprises politicians most of whom are known for the Left-of-the-Centre tilt including V Kishore Chandra Deo and B K Hariprasad. Union ministers M Veerappa Moily, Charan Das Mahant, Sachin Pilot and Kumari Selja are other members of the group.
The party had earlier constituted a high-level group headed by Congress veteran Motilal Vora to oversee the organisation of the Chintan Shivir to be held in Jaipur on January 18 and 19 with former I and B Minister Ambika Soni as its convenor.