The Congress on Saturday formed three crucial committees to look after the coordination, manifesto and publicity for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The party has been gearing up for the polls with the old guard maintaining its position in the core set up, under party president Rahul Gandhi.
The key nine-member Core Group Committee formed by Rahul Gandhi involves AK Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram, Ashok Gehlot, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh, Randeep Surjewala and KC Veugopal.
The 19-member Manifesto Committee comprises veterans like former finance minister P Chidambaram, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former union ministers Jairam Ramesh, Salman Khurshid, Shashi Tharoor and Kumari Selja, besides former Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal, party's women's wing head Sushmita Dev, party Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Gowda and Tamradhwaj Sahu, who is also the party's Backward class department chief, are also a part of the panel.
The others are Bindu Krishnan, Raghuveer Meena, Bhalchandra Mungekar, Meenakshi Natarajan, Rajni Patil, Sam Pitroda, Sachin Rao and Lalithesh Tripathi.
A separate committee comprising 13 leaders was also formed by the Congress president. The leaders will look after the party’s publicity during the elections, said AICC general secretary Organisation Ashok Gehlot.
The Publicity Committee includes Randeep Surjewala, former ministers Anand Sharma, Manish Tewari and Rajeev Shukla, besides Bhakta Charan Das, Praveen Chakravarty, Milind Deora, Kumar Ketkar, Pawan Khera, VD Satheesan, Jaiveer Shergill, party's social media head Divya Spandana and former Rajya Sabha member Pramod Tiwari.
With the constitution of these panels, the party is in election mode and will start the work of putting up a manifesto and draw strategy for publicity and coordination, Gehlot said while announcing the committees.
Conveners of these panels will be announced later, sources said.
Party leaders said Rahul Gandhi has opted for a blend of young and old leaders, taking the experience of the veterans and the energy of the youth together.
While all those in the Core Committee have worked under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, those in the publicity and manifesto committees comprise old-timers as well as some fresh faces.