NEW DELHI: To retire or not to retire! The deliberations are still on but it seems it will be one tough pill for Congress to swallow.
Sources in the Grand Old Party told The New Indian that while Congress deliberated and mostly agreed on the contentious issues of ‘One Family, One Post’, no person should hold any post for more than five years and 50 per cent reservation to those below 50 years to age during its three-day Chintan Shivir in Udaipur, things turned hot when the top of retirement age came for discussion.
According to a party source, who was part of the Youth Committee which discussed the retirement of leaders, the committee proposed the retirement of leaders at 65 years.
At that point, few leaders suggested that they are 65 and the retirement age needs to be fixed at 70.
“At that time Jairam Ramesh was listening to the discussions of the committee with his eyes closed. Priyanka Gandhi then asked Jairam Ramesh, ‘what is your age?’. To this Jairam Ramesh replied that ‘if this resolution gets passed in CWC I will be unemployed,” the source said.
Even CWC, the party’s highest decision-making body, rejected the idea of the retirement of leaders, the source said.
He further said that several leaders were watching the discussion and got angry.
“Then Mallikarjun Kharge said ‘jabardasti retire kar rahe ho kisi ko, aisa nahi chalega (you people are proposing to retire leaders against their will and it will not be accepted). There should be senior voices. You should make an advisory committee first,” he suggested.
The source also said that Congress MP DK Suresh, in the meeting, said that there should be a retirement age for the leaders in the party.
The Youth Committee has Amarinder Singh Warring as convenor, NSUI’s president Neeraj Kundan, IYC’s chief Srinivas BV, Alka Lamba and 40 others as members.
The source said that the committee proposed the 50 per cent reservation for youth leaders below 45 years of age but the Congress Working Committee (CWC) raised it to 50 years.
Nine days after the Chintan Shivir in Udaipur, Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday named former Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and his deputy Anand Sharma as part of a nine-member Political Affairs Group (PAG).
Besides PAG, Sonia Gandhi also announced a Task Force for 2024 Lok Sabha polls and a committee to coordinate the October 2 ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’.
Besides Azad and Sharma, Sonia Gandhi named Rahul Gandhi, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Ambika Soni, Digvijay Singh, KC Venugopal and Jitendra Singh as the members of the PAG.
Sonia Gandhi named Sunil Kanugolu former associate of poll strategist Prashant Kishor for the party’s election management.
Besides Kanugolu Sonia Gandhi has named senior party leader P Chidambaram, Mukul Wasnik, Jairam Ramesh, Venugopal, Ajay Maken and Randeep Singh Surjewala in the Task Force for 2024.