Rahul aide quits, calls for strong Cong chief as Sonia holds talks with ‘rebels’

Ruchi Gupta, an NSUI leader who quit Congress citing “delays in organisational changes” has pointed to the need for a “strong and interventionist” president for the party

Ruchi Gupta announced her resignation citing organisational delays | Facebook

As Congress president Sonia Gandhi held meetings with a group of dissident leaders, a leader of the party’s students’ wing who quit citing “delays in organizational changes” has pointed to the need for a “strong and interventionist” president for the party.

Ruchi Gupta, joint secretary in-charge of the students’ wing, National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), and said to be a close confidante of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, tweeted on Saturday (December 19), announcing her resignation.

This came as Sonia Gandhi was holding a meeting with 23 Congress ‘rebel’ leaders, known as G-23, who had questioned the functioning of the leadership. While AK Antony, Ashok Gehlot and Ambika Soni were said to be among the loyalists attending the meeting, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Vivek Tankha, Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tiwari and Bhupinder Singh Hooda were reported to be the dissenters, besides other leaders like P Chidambaram and Kamal Nath.

Also read: Gandhis begin talks with Congress ‘rebels’ seeking reforms in party

After repeated losses in elections, Congress has been battling defections and internal dissension, and the 23 leaders were asking for an organisational overhaul.

In an article in The Hindu, Ruchi Gupta said the party needs to address issues of party organisation, address grassroots level connect and establish a strong top-down leadership.

“None of the above can be done without a strong and interventionist Congress President. Without a strong leader at the top to take and enforce decisions, the party will continue to be pulled in different directions,” Gupta wrote.

“Moreover, only the active facilitation of the Congress President can create space for substantive deliberation required right now — both as a political process to draw everyone together and to form a political platform expansive enough to accommodate the Congress’s historical big tent positioning.”

She added that the “this leadership can only be provided by Rahul Gandhi”. “This is not a sycophantic statement — if any other leader had to emerge in the party, he would have done so over the last year. Instead, different factions prefer status quo rather than allowing one group to ascend and upset the balance of power for everyone.”

Gupta’s point reflected a demand made by a majority of the dissenting leaders who want Rahul Gandhi back as the president of the Congress.

“We are one family and we will sort it out,” said Randeep Surjewala on Friday.

A Congress functionary was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying that Sonia Gandhi was keen to end the crisis immediately.

“She wants to bring all the warring leaders together and end the current impasse in the party. She wants all the leaders to work in close coordination with Rahul Gandhi in strengthening the party,” he said, requesting anonymity, according to HT.