At Congress Working Committee, party underlines: Rahul Gandhi leader, there is a need for allies

THE CONGRESS Sunday sent out an unambiguous message to present and potential allies that while it was open to state-specific alliances for the 2019 elections, its pan-India footprint could make it the single largest party in which case Rahul Gandhi will be the prime ministerial face.
The party also moved to erase the perception that Sonia Gandhi will lead alliance talks and made clear that Rahul, or leaders chosen by him, will talk to parties about tie-ups.After a meeting of the extended Congress Working Committee (CWC) chaired by Rahul, the first after he took over as president eight months ago, the Congress said he was “setting up a group” to look into the alliance question. Attended by 239 leaders, the CWC brainstormed for nearly five hours to bring clarity on its “mission 2019” strategy and the political situation — as many as 35 leaders spoke.
Former union minister P Chidambaram gave a detailed presentation in which he touched upon the alliance question. “Chidambaram pointed out that the Congress is facing a serious challenge in the 80 seats of Uttar Pradesh, 42 seats of West Bengal, 40 seats of Bihar, 39 seats of Tamil Nadu…this itself adds up to around 200 seats. He said that in states where the Congress is weak currently, we must sew up regional alliances to take on the BJP,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala told reporters at a press conference later.