New Delhi, Jul 22: Rahul Gandhi is chairing the first meeting of the newly constituted Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body, on Sunday. This the first CWC formed by the Congress chief after assuming charge of the party. The new Congress Working Committee (CWC) was constituted on July 17. It includes 23 members, 19 permanent invitees and 9 special invitees.

Independent in-charges appointed for various states will be among the permanent invitees to the working committee as ex-officio members, while the heads of five frontal organisations of the party – INTUC, Sewa Dal, Youth Congress, Mahila Congress and NSUI – will be part of the special invitees, a PTI report states.

Gandhi’s new CWC team, the names of which was released by party general secretary Ashok Gehlot, has a blend of old and new leaders.

Veterans Digvijaya Singh, Janardan Dwivedi, Kamal Nath, Sushilkumar Shinde and Karan Singh were dropped from the party’s highest decision-making body whereas, other veterans like AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni, Motilal Vora, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Anand Sharma and Kumari Selja have been included.

Besides himself, former party chief Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Gandhi included all former Congress chief ministers Ashok Gehlot, Oomen Chandy, Tarun Gogoi, Siddharamaiah and Harish Rawat.

Rawat has also been made the party general secretary in-charge of Assam affairs.

Other prominent exclusions are Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who was earlier a permanent invitee to the body, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh and party veterans Mohan Prakash, Oscar Fernandes, CP Joshi and Mohsina Kidwai.

Among the new faces are Mukul Wasnik, Avinash Pande, KC Venugopal, Dipak Babaraia, Tamradhwaj Sahu, Gaikhangam and Ashok Gehlot, whom he has also made party general secretaries.

The permanent invitees include former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, P Chidambaram, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Randeep Surjewala, Balasaheb Thorat, Tariq Hameed Karra and P C Chacko.

The new Congress chief has also included all AICC secretaries in-charge of different states – Jitendra Singh, RPN Singh, PL Punia, Asha Kumari, Rajni Patil, Ram Chandra Khuntia, Anugrah Narayan Singh, Rajeev S Satav, Shaktisinh Gohil, Gaurav Gogoi and A Chella Kumar – as permanent invitees. However, they will only be ex-officio members of the panel.

Among the special invitees to the CWC include KH Muniyappa, Arun Yadav, Deepender Hooda, Jitin Prasada and Kuldeep Bishnoi.

Besides chiefs of party’s frontal organisations INTUC, Seva Dal, Youth Congress, Mahila Congress and NSUI have also been included as ex-officio special invitees and they will also be ex-officio members.

The July 22 meeting will be of an ‘extended working committee’ as Gandhi has also invited all state unit presidents and Congress Legislative Party leaders from states.

The committee was dissolved prior to the election of the Congress president and the earlier panel was transformed into a steering committee till the party’s plenary session that concluded in March.

The CWC, which acts as an advisory panel on all key decisions of the party, was not in place since the plenary session in March.

Today’s meeting will be of an ‘extended working committee’ as Gandhi has also invited all state unit presidents and Congress Legislative Party leaders from states.

The committee was dissolved prior to the election of the Congress president and the earlier panel was transformed into a steering committee till the party’s plenary session that concluded in March.

The CWC, which acts as an advisory panel on all key decisions of the party, was not in place since the plenary session in March.

(Inputs from PTI)