Sonia Gandhi has been urged to continue as the interim chief of the Congress party till an All India Congress Committee session is convened. She was authorised to effect necessary organisational changes at the Congress Working Committee meeting on Monday (August 24).
The seven-hour-long meeting took place in the backdrop of a leaked letter by 23 Congress leaders, including former chief ministers, sitting MPs, and members of the CWC, seeking an immediate organisational overhaul and collective leadership.
At the meeting, Gandhi had reportedly offered to quit but was requested by the CWC, the party’s top decision-making body with more than 50 members, to stay on.
- Congress General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal told a press conference that the CWC unanimously requested Sonia Gandhi to continue to “lead the Indian National Congress until such time as circumstances will permit an AICC session to be convened.”
- The party said that no one will be permitted to undermine or weaken the party and its leadership. The CWC also resolved that inner-party issues cannot be deliberated through media or in public fora and all such issues must be raised within the party.
- At the crucial CWC meeting, Gandhi is said to have offered to quit, but she was urged to stay on as the interim chief. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh led the demand for Sonia to continue as the party interim president and leader after leader echoed him, PTI reported.
- It was also decided that a committee will be constituted to assist Sonai Gandhi to look into the issues raised in the letter by 23 leaders. The members of the committee have not been named yet.
- The CWC said the voices of our two leaders, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, had inspired a generation of Indians, both within and outside of the Indian National Congress.
- In her closing remarks, according to NDTV, Sonia Gandhi reportedly said that she held “no ill-will” towards anyone in the party. It quoted her as saying: “I am hurt but they are my colleagues, bygones are bygones, let us work together.”
- During the meeting, former party chief Rahul Gandhi is said to have launched a scathing attack against the signatories of the letter. He reportedly questioned their timing as well as the fact they went public with their grievances. He rued that the letter was written when Sonia was in the hospital and the party was battling a political crisis in Rajasthan.
- Earlier in the day, it was reported that Rahul Gandhi had accused the signatories of the letter of “colluding with the BJP”, triggering strong responses from some leaders.
- The party, however, denied such allegations and said Rahul didn’t say anything as such at the meeting. “Rahul Gandhi hasn’t said a word of this nature nor alluded to it. Pl don’t be mislead by false media discourse or misinformation being spread,” tweeted Congress leader Randeep Singh Surejwala.
- Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal tweeted slamming Rahul over the alleged remarks but later withdrew it saying that the former party chief had informed him personally that he had never made the “colluding with the BJP” remark.
- Responding to the alleged remark, before the party’s denial, veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad offered to quit the party if a “collusion” link could be established, media reports said. In a clarification, Azad said today that it was wrongly reported that he told Rahul to prove the “collusion” remark.”A section of media is wrongly attributing that, in CWC I told Shri Rahul Gandhi to prove that the letter written by us is in collusion with BJP-“let me make it very clear that Shri Rahul Gandhi has neither in CWC nor outside said that this letter was written at the behest of BJP…What I said was, yesterday some Congress person had said that we did it at behest of BJP & in that context I said “It is most unfortunate that some colleagues (outside CWC) have accused us of collusion with BJP, and if those people can prove this allegation, I will resign”,” he said in two tweets.
- Almost all Lok Sabha MPs of the party have written to Sonia Gandhi expressing solidarity and requesting her to continue in her post or install Rahul Gandhi. Besides, several state units, including Delhi and Rajasthan, have passed resolutions favouring the leadership of the Gandhis, reported news agency PTI.