Amid sniping, Congress puts critics on new panels to aid Sonia | India News – Times of India



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NEW DELHI: Amid fresh squabbling over the direction of the party following the poor showing in Bihar, Congress on Friday constituted three panels on economic affairs, foreign affairs and national security, falling back on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to head them while accommodating some of the G-23 dissenters. The panels are intended to help Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and the party respond to current developments.
Interestingly, the panel on economics comprises former finance minister P Chidambaram while the one on foreign affairs comprises Anand Sharma and Shashi Tharoor besides being headed by Salman Khurshid. Sharma and Tharoor are signatories to the G-23 letter calling for a full-time leader who is available to deal with party matters.
The foreign affairs panel, however, may be seen as a part snub to the G-23 since the AICC foreign affairs department is headed by Anand Sharma and in the arrangement announced on Friday, Salman Khurshid is the convener. The committee on national security includes leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad who is the leading figure in G-23 and veteran Veerappa Moily who also signed the dissenting missive.
These panels, which are to brief the Congress president on important issues, come after the party in August formed a committee of advisors to help Sonia Gandhi in day to day affairs. Congress has decided to hold the AICC elections for the next party chief, as was decided in the CWC meeting in August.
It is to be seen if these appointments in any way stem the public commentary by senior members critical of the leadership, arguing that the top brass is in denial that the party is in decline and facing serious existential crisis.


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