Congress CMs’ conclave may be deferred
New Delhi, September 13
The CMs’ conclave, which was being convened after a gap of nearly three years, was tentatively fixed for end-September but the announcement of the month-long four-phase Bihar elections has upset Congress plans. This meeting had assumed significance as it was expected to focus on the performance of several Chief Ministers who came under a cloud in recent times.
Although there is no formal word from the Congress, party leaders indicated that fresh dates will have to found for the AICC plenary and the CMs’ meet.
The schedule for the two events was finalised after considerable debate and discussion. While the CMs’ meet was to be convened in Dehradun, the AICC plenary was to be held in Hyderabad from October 20-22, while the first phase of polling is scheduled for October 18.
The Congress and other political parties have petitioned the Election Commission to review the Bihar poll schedule because of Ramzan and a host of other festivals during the same period. Though the Chief Election Commissioner has publicly ruled out any change in the election schedule, the Congress is waiting to get a formal reply from the Commission before it takes a final view on deferring the AICC plenary.
Congress leaders had initially said the CMs’ meeting could be held as per schedule since it does not involve any large-scale organisation. However, it now appears that even this meeting is unlikely to be held this month. The party is gradually getting into election mode and will soon begin the process of candidate selection and also have to firm up its campaign.
Held regularly when it was in the opposition, the CMs’ meet was an occasion for the Congress to line up its Chief Ministers and project itself as the natural party of governance. The forthcoming meeting was meant to review how the state governments are implementing their election commitments. But with several Chief Ministers getting embroiled in controversies in recent times, their performance was expected to come up for assessment.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, for instance, was faulted for his handling of the police lathicharge in Gurgaon and the caste violence in Gohana while Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh faced flak for his mismanagement of the flash floods in Mumbai. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit came under pressure from her party colleagues and the public on the power tariff issue.