- Sonia Gandhi, 73, does not want to lead the Congress Party
- Sonia Gandhi will either resign immediately or give a deadline
- A big meeting of the Congress Working Committee will be held today
Sonia Gandhi, 73, who led the Congress Party from 1998 to 2017 as the president and later became interim President in 2019 after Rahul Gandhi resigned taking full responsibility of the loss in 2019 elections, Sonia Gandhi is expected to resign as the interim President of the party as the main decision making body of the party meets today based on the letter which was sent by 23 top leaders of the party complaining about a drift in the party and called for “a full-time, visible leadership”.
The letter demanded that “collective decision-making”, calls into question the leadership of the Gandhis, who have led the Congress for much of its 134-year history. Sonia Gandhi would either resign immediately or give the Congress party a deadline to find a new chief, as per reports on the meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).
Reports say that even Rahul Gandhi is firm on not returning as the Congress chief, a post he quit after the party’s second straight national election defeat last year.
Sonia Gandhi told that she does not wish to continue as the President of the party which was anyway an interim arrangement after her son Rahul Gandhi quit in 2019. She has asked the Congress party to elect a non-Gandhi chief.
The Congress Working Committee’s virtual meeting will begin with Sonia Gandhi’s opening address and the announcement of her resignation. As per the reports the “dissidents” who wrote the letter on the 7th of August – including the former union ministers and prominent MPs – are likely to come under attack from the Gandhi loyalists, many of whom have not only come out publicly in their support but have also written to Sonia Gandhi pleading with her to continue leading the party.
The “uncertainty” over the leadership of the Congress Party along with the “drift” in the party has demoralised workers and weakened the party, said the letter which was also signed by senior leaders including Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Prithviraj Chavan, Vivek Tankha and Anand Sharma.
The letter, reportedly, stressed that the Gandhis will always be an integral part of “collective leadership”.
The letter had put a huge crack in the Congress party right down the middle with leaders such as Amarinder Singh, Bhupesh Baghel and Siddaramaiah coming out in support of the Gandhis.
On Sunday evening, Chief Minister of Punjab, Amarinder Singh said, “Sonia Gandhi should continue as long as she wants; Rahul Gandhi should take over after her as he is fully competent,”.
Many people believe that the letter was intended to ruin attempts to bring back Rahul Gandhi as party chief. Over the past few weeks, several Congress leaders have rooted for his return as the President of the party.
According to reports, Rahul Gandhi is firm on his decision of not returning as Congress president. He is keen to continue to work for the party and fight the BJP-led RSS, sources close to him told the leading news agency in India, NDTV, as Gandhi family loyalists took on the leaders who signed the letter.
Even Rahul’s sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is clear on her stand that she will remain as a general secretary and will not take on any bigger leadership role in the party.
A report said, “This is the first time since 1999, when Sharad Pawar walked out over Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin, that the Congress has seen an organized revolt against the Nehru-Gandhi leadership. Sources say going by the Congress playbook, there may be a ‘unanimous resolution’ reposing faith in Sonia Gandhi as chief.”
With the Gandhi Family determined to not take the President’s post in the Congress party, and is determent to step back, the CWC meeting may see the Congress party being forced to commit to the task in hand and appoint an interim President while launching an internal election which includes an electoral college.
Report say that a committee or a team is expected to be formed to find a way forward and mentor the Congress party in the process of organisational elections which will “help bring internal democracy within”.