Sonia Gandhi on Saturday hit back at critics in the Congress demanding a “visible and effective leadership” and said she was a “full-time and hands-on president”.
Addressing a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, Sonia, who has been interim president since her son Rahul resigned two years ago, said “I have always appreciated frankness” and “there is no need to speak to me through the media” – a reference to letters released by ‘G-23’ members that triggered public spats between leaders in both camps.
“I am, if you will allow me to say so, a full-time and hands on Congress president,” she said, highlighting her leadership on national issues like the farmers’ protests, the provision of aid and relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You are aware that I have been taking them up with the prime minister, as have Dr Manmohan Singh ji and Rahul ji… I have been interacting with like-minded political parties regularly. We have issued joint statements on national issues and coordinated our strategy in Parliament as well.”
Sonia called for a free and honest discussion on challenges facing the party. “… but what should get communicated outside the four walls of this room is the collective decision of the CWC,” she said, in another warning to the ‘G-23’.
During the meet senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad – a G-23 member – said: “We have full faith in Sonia Gandhi ji and nobody is questioning her leadership,” ANI reported.
The CWC – the party’s highest decision-making body, met on Saturday to finalise the schedule for organisational elections. A full-time party president and a team of new office-bearers will be chosen in September next year.
This is a long-standing demand of the G-23, who have called for sweeping structural changes in the Congress.