The first Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting after it was reconstituted by its president Rahul Gandhi took place in New Delhi with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The agenda was simple: How to give shape to the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) and what the Congress would do on its own to be on a leadership position of the mahagathbandhan, come 2019.

According to sources, the Congress is aiming for 150 seats on its own in the next general election. MyNation has reliably learnt that senior leader P Chidambaram reasoned at the meeting that in 15 states, the Congress has a potential to increase its strength three times and in rest of the states it should get into ‘strategic alliance’ with regional parties. 

Sachin Pilot and Ramesh Chenithala both supported this suggestion, but said that the Congress should be the driving force of the alliance. Both of them are believed to have told the CWC that at the Centre, Rahul should be the face of any alliance.

This was the first CWC meeting since the no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government was defeated on Friday, with Prime Minister Modi blasting the Congress in an hour-long speech. It was something many have termed as ‘Modi’s dhobi pachad’. 

In Sunday's meeting, there was no direct mention of Modi. But more than one Congress leader referred to the RSS ideology, which they stressed, needs to be defeated. United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, in her speech, said that regional parties should drop individual interest and join the mahagathbandhan as that was the only way to stop the Modi juggernaut in 2019.

PL Punia and Bhupesh Bhagel raised the matter of lynching and the strategy they need to devise to make it an issue.

However, this CWC was not without a dampener. Despite being invited, Digvijaya Singh, a close aide of Rahul, didn’t turn up at the meeting. Political analysts believe that this has to do with his decreasing stature in Madhya Pradesh Congress and the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) in general. Another senior face, Janardan Dwivedi, too skipped the CWC in spite of being invited.