Sonia Gandhi will remain the party president, sources said after a mammoth four-and-half-hour meeting this evening amid demands of a change in leadership in view of the party’s crushing defeat in the recently held state polls.
The party will hold a “Chintan Shivir” (brainstorming session) soon, sources said after the evening’s meeting of the Working Committee — the party’s highest decision-making body.
“Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi will lead us and will take future steps. We all have faith in her leadership,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge was quoted as saying by news agency ANI after the meeting.
“She (Sonia Gandhi) continues to be the president of the party. Detailed discussions were held about the five states elections (at the meeting). We discussed how to take things forward and how we prepare for the forthcoming elections,” Congress’s Goa in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao said, reported ANI.
More than 50 leaders participated at the meeting — a number surpassing the combined strength of Congress’s MLAs and MPs from the five states where the elections were held, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Punjab.
The scale of Congress defeat had set off a refreshed demands for sweeping organisational changes and an accountable leadership — first introduced two years ago when a group of 23 dissenters — later dubbed the G-23 – wrote an explosive letter to Sonia Gandhi.
This time, searing criticism of the top leadership came from other quarters as well, albeit off the record. There has been criticism that Rahul Gandhi, who dies not hold any official position after stepping down as Congress president after the party’s second straight national election defeat in 2019, continues to call the shots.
Decisions by him and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have been seen as being responsible for the party’s defeat in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
There are only three members from the “G-23” in the CWC – Anand Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mukul Wasnik.
Ahead of the meeting, the Congress denied a buzz that the Gandhis will step down from official posts. Several leaders tweeted their support to Rahul Gandhi.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said Rahul Gandhi should be the Congress chief. “For the last three decades, nobody from the Gandhi family became a PM or a minister. It is significant to understand that the Gandhi family is important for Congress’ unity,” he told news agency ANI
With inputs from NDTV