Express News Service
NEW DELHI: With the Congress looking at 50 per cent of office-bearers, including the Congress Working Committee (CWC), being below the age group of 50 years, a major overhaul in the party’s highest decision-making body and AICC committees and departments seems to be in the offing. The present average age of CWC members is 68 years with not even one person being below 50 years.
The current CWC headed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi has 55 members – 21 main members, 25 permanent invitees and nine special invitees. Among the 21 main members, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (50 years) is the youngest while Manmohan Singh (89) is the oldest.
Several young party leaders, who were once close to Rahul Gandhi, have joined other parties citing better prospects. The prominent ones include Sushmita Dev, Jitin Prasada, Jyotiraditya Scindia, and Pradyot Deb Barman among others. During his tenure as party chief from December 2017-August 2019, Rahul had inducted young leaders into various committees and departments to ensure a younger leadership profile.
But now, among 25 permanent invitees to the CWC, only Lok Sabha MP Manickam Tagore (47 years) is below 50, and among special invitees, only three — Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Hooda (43 years), National Students Union of India ( NSUI) head Neeraj Kundan and Indian Youth Congress chief BV Srinivas (41 years) — are in the under-50 bracket.
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As the party started the three-day ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Udaipur, party general secretary Ajay Maken announced that the party is considering ensuring that 50 per cent of all office-bearers from the top to bottom will be below 50 years of the age, keeping in mind the country’s youths.
’50 below 50 from block to CWC’ is the term coined by the committee on youth.
An analysis of other key committees and posts in the party’s central office shows that a major revamp has to be carried out to implement this goal. The party’s five-member Central Election Authority has only one person below the age of 50 – Kerala MP S Jothimani (47 years).
Among nine general secretaries in the Congress, none is below 50 years. Among state in-charges, there is just Telangana in-charge, Manickam Tagore (47), who falls in this category.
In several AICC committees, the party has constituted, former Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot (44 years) is part of the group to look into future challenges while the publicity and publication wing has Milind Deora (45 years). The data cell chief Parveen Chakravarty (49 years), party spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill (38 years) and social media cell head Rohan Gupta (44 years) are other notable under-50-year-olds. There is also former MP Meenakshi Natarajn (48 years) in the manifesto committee.