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Published On: Sun, Aug 23rd, 2020

Sonia Gandhi may resign as Congress President

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Sonia-Gandhi-ANINEW DELHI : Congress Interim president Sonia Gandhi has told a senior Congress leader that she does not want to continue as the chief and has asked to start the process to find a new president.
Sonia Gandhi, 73, will either resign immediately or give the party a deadline to find a new chief, sources said ahead of a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the party’s top decision-making body, tomorrow.
Sources said today amid a massive controversy over a letter by more than 20 top party leaders calling for sweeping reforms, introspection and “a full-time, visible leadership.”

According to  sources  Sonia Gandhi has asked party leaders to start the process of finding a new president. The development has come a day before the Congress Working Committee crucial meeting, scheduled to take place on Monday.

Ahead of the CWC meet, different voices have emerged within the party with one section comprising sitting MPs and former ministers and ex Chief Ministers demanding collective leadership, while another group has sought the return of Rahul Gandhi to the helm.
While two dozen Congress leaders including some ex-ministers have written to party president Sonia Gandhi for overhaul of the organizational structure and changes to the leadership, some leaders close to Rahul have also written to the CWC pressing for the Gandhi scion’s return as chief.

The letter by former ministers and some MPs was believed to have been written a few weeks ago and sets the stage for a stormy CWC meeting where issues flagged by dissenters are expected to be discussed and debated.
The letter, signed by senior leaders like Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Prithviraj Chavan, Vivek Tankha and Anand Sharma,  called for a “full-time”, “effective leadership” that will be “visible” and “active” in the field, sources said.
It also called for “honest introspection” and suggested a “collective leadership”, reforms including decentralisation of power, empowerment of state units and organizational elections at every level, sources said.
These leaders have called for bringing changes in the organization by effecting reforms through decentralization of power and empowerment of state units besides setting up of the central Parliamentary Board, a body that existed in the party in the 1970s but was later wound up.
Rahul Gandhi is the most acceptable leader in Congress and its high time that he should come back as party chief, senior party leader Ajay Maken has said. Several key leaders in Congress are speaking about future leadership after close to 30 leaders in a letter asked interim chief Sonia Gandhi for a complete overhaul of the party starting from elections for President’s post and Congress Working Committee (CWC).
Meanwhile, reports are doing the rounds that interim chief Sonia Gandhi may resign as party President tomorrow when  crucial CWC meet.
Moreover, as voices continue to bing in the party calling for a change in the leadership, key leaders including Ashok Gehlot, Ajay Maken, Captain Amarinder Singh, BV Srinivas, Neeraj Kundan, Bhupesh Bhagel and Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary want Rahul Gandhi to take back the responsibility of the top job in the party.
The letter suggests that the Gandhis, who have led the party for most of its 134-year history, can remain an “integral part of a collective leadership”. Mrs Gandhi has said a Working Committee meet will discuss the matter, sources said.

Rahul Gandhi has said that he is determined to not return as the Congress president and will continue to work for the party and fight the BJP-led RSS, sources close to him said as Gandhi family loyalists took on the leaders who signed the letter. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is also clear she will remain as a general secretary and not take on any bigger leadership role in the party, sources said.
The 73-year-old was roped into taking charge of the party last year as Rahul Gandhi quit the top post after the crushing defeat in the general elections. Mrs Gandhi had taken a backseat over the last few years in view of her health situation.

The letter has split the Congress down the middle with leaders like Amarinder Singh, Bhupesh Baghel and Siddaramaiah coming out in support of the Gandhis. “Sonia Gandhi should continue as long as she wants; Rahul Gandhi should take over after her as he is fully competent,” Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said this evening.
His Chhattisgarh counterpart Bupesh Baghel tweeted: “Honorable Sonia ji and Respected Rahul ji are the ray of hope for us in every challenge. We are all with you”.
The Gandhi family loyalists Amarinder Singh have also questioned why the letter had to be sent before the meeting of the Working Committee scheduled for tomorrow.
The working committee meeting last month saw arguments and sharp criticism by younger leaders who were seen to blame the party’s last government for its massive downfall since. The younger leaders reportedly said those who were part of the last UPA government should take the blame for the Congress’s rapid decline.
(With Agency Inputs ).


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