NEW DELHI : Barely weeks after the Lok Sabha election results, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress on Wednesday got down to the task of preparing for forthcoming state elections and the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha.

While the ruling BJP announced its parliamentary party executive committee with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the leader in Lok Sabha, the Congress held a review meeting for state elections in Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Jammu & Kashmir.

An informal meeting of top Congress leaders was attended by members of the party’s former core group constituted just ahead of the general elections, including former ministers A.K. Antony, P. Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh, Anand Sharma, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad, besides treasurer Ahmed Patel, general secretary in-charge of organization K.C. Venugopal and chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Surjewala, however, clarified that all such poll-related committees had ceased to exist after the elections.

According to a senior party leader, the leaders discussed the organizational strength of the Congress and the challenges on ground for the coming assembly elections.

Following the party’s poor performance in the general elections, party president Rahul Gandhi had offered to resign during a meeting of the working committee last month.

Asked about it, Surjewala told reporters on Wednesday: “Rahul Gandhi was, is and will remain the Congress president. We have no doubt about it."

Meanwhile, just days ahead of the Parliament session, which begins on Monday the BJP appointed defence minister Rajnath Singh as its deputy leader in the Lok Sabha. For the Upper House, the party appointed Union minister Thawar Chand Gehlot as the leader of the house and his cabinet colleague Piyush Goyal as his deputy.

Interestingly, it appointed three women whips—Ranjanben Bhatt, Shobha Karandlaje and Locket Chatterjee. Besides, Union minister Smriti Irani, who defeated Gandhi to win the Amethi Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh, was also included in the executive committee.

According to a report by the Press Trust of India, the BJP is also set to begin the process of organizational restructuring, which may include electing party presidenat Amit Shah’s successor, in a meeting with the chiefs and general secretaries of the party’s state units on Thursday.


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