The Congress on Saturday constituted a consultative group with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as its chairperson to deliberate on “current concerns” and formulate views and policy of the party on important matters, PTI reported. Former party chief Rahul Gandhi will be part of the group, and the party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala will be the convener.
“The Congress President [Sonia Gandhi] has constituted a consultative group with Manmohan Singh as its chairperson,” a communique from All India Congress Committee General Secretary KC Venugopal said. “The consultative group will meet virtually, normally every day, to deliberate on matters of current concern and formulate views of the party on various issues.”
The other members of the panel are former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, former ministers Manish Tewari and Jairam Ramesh, Congress leaders Praveen Chakravarty, Gourav Vallabh, Supriya Shrinate, and the party’s social media head Rohan Gupta.
It is unclear which “current concerns” the Congress aims to deliberate on, but the party has heavily criticised the Narendra Modi-led government’s policies to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. On April 14, the party criticised the Centre for not instituting any welfare measures for the economically weaker sections, including the lack of a financial package, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus was being extended till May 3.
Chidambaram claimed the government had ignored the states’ demands to release more money to combat the virus, and accused it of leaving economically weaker sections of the society to fend for themselves.
Rahul Gandhi said on April 16 that the nationwide lockdown is not a solution to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, but like “a pause button”. “When we come out of the lockdown, the virus is going to start its work again,” the Congress leader said. “It is very important that we have a strategy to come out of the lockdown.” Subsequently, Gandhi called for much more testing than was being done at present.
So far, 14,378 people have been infected with the virus in India, and 480 have died, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.