Sonia’s offer to resign sends loyalists rallying behind her, Rahul

Chief ministers, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs and MLAs have written to the Congress president, urging her not to step down and if she does, to allow Rahul to take over

Sonia Gandhi is stable and would be in the hospital for a few days, said Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala | File Photo

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi’s offer to step down from the post in response to a letter by 23 party seniors requesting a complete repair of the party machinery, has sent several loyalists rallying behind her and her son Rahul Gandhi.

In a letter, which became public on Sunday (August 23), at least 23 prominent party leaders urged Sonia to initiate sweeping reforms in the party and ensure a “full-time, visible leadership.” Within a few hours, a CWC meeting was scheduled for Monday (August 24) and Sonia volunteered to resign so that someone else could fill up the place.

Her proposal prompted Congress leaders including chief ministers of states, MLAs and MPs to write to her, asking her not to resign and if she does, to allow Rahul to take over.

Expressing his surprise over such an unprecedented letter, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, defended Sonia’s leadership and said if she has made up the mind to leave, Rahul should replace her.

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Asserting that the Gandhis were the face of Congress, from Kashmir to Kanyakumar, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too seconded Gehlot’s opinion that if Sonia has to resign, the presidentship should go to Rahul who he believed was “competent to lead the party.”

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Singh Baghel too echoed similar sentiments.

Related news: Congress bandwagon revolts, puts Sonia and Rahul on virtual notice

“We remember that the Congress party under the leadership of Rahul ji put up a good show in the Gujarat assembly elections and paved the way for the formation of government in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh…Only Sonia ji and Rahul ji seem to be the ray of hope for bringing the country out of the crises,” said his letter to Rahul, which he shared on Twitter.

Letters to beat letter

Another letter pledging full support to the two Gandhis, first shared by Congress leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Choudhury, was extensively shared by several party leaders under different letterheads.

The letter assured Sonia of “unequivocal and complete faith” in her leadership.

“We, the members of Parliament representing the length and breadth of the country, have heard and read with dismay and disbelief these claims being made by even those members of the party, who have benefitted and grown in the Congress due to your encouragement and faith that you have placed in them,” said the letter.

“We write to you today to tell you, unequivocally, that we have complete faith in your leadership. You took over the reins of the Congress at a difficult time and shepherded UPA to power when Congress was least expected to run the country. Though you have been subject to relentless vilification, you have maintained your dignity and laboured on for the party and for the country,” read another excerpt.

The same letter was shared by several Congress Parliamentarians and MLAs on Twitter with different letterheads.

Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar Manickam Tagore tweeted that the same letter written by their leader in Loksabha is being shared by members as all the members of the parliament who are spread across the country can’t sign on one letter.

Lok Sabha MPs including Jothimani (Karur, Tamil Nadu), Saptagiri Ulaka (Koraput, Odisha) and Ravneet Singh Bittu (Ludhiana, Punjab) as well as their Rajya Sabha counterparts like Amee Yagnik, Rajee Satav and PL Punia were among those who sent the letter to Sonia.

The earlier letter to Sonia Gandhi signed by senior leaders like Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Prithviraj Chavan, Vivek Tankha and Anand Sharma,  had called for a “full-time”, “effective leadership” that will be “visible” and “active” in the field. It had also called the Congress for “honest introspection” and suggested reforms like decentralisation of power, empowerment of state units and organizational elections at every level.

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