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Sonia Gandhi likely to resign as Cong president

By Kalyan Barooah
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NEW DELHI, Aug 23 - Amid the ongoing political speculation over the leadership of the Congress party, its interim president Sonia Gandhi is likely to announce her resignation at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday. It has been learnt that Sonia Gandhi�s resignation from the post of president may formally be announced at the CWC meet tomorrow.

After the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi resigned as the party president in August last year, taking responsibility for the debacle of the Congress party in the polls. Sonia Gandhi has been the party�s interim chief since then.

A faction within the party wants Rahul Gandhi to lead the Congress. However, Rahul Gandhi has made it known that he is still unwilling to take charge and will take a final call next year. However, the fact remains that within the Congress there is an increasing demand that a Gandhi should be once again be anointed as Congress president, said a senior the Congress leader.

He cited the instance of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who has opposed the challenge to the Gandhi family leadership and advocated that Sonia Gandhi should continue.

However, within the Congress, there is also a growing demand for holding elections to the post of the party president and for the seats of the CWC.

According to sources, a section within the party has proposed the name of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for the post of Congress president. Names of others are also in circulation, including Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, among others.

The leaders pointed out that a non-Gandhi can take charge because the general elections are not due until 2024 though a number of crucial State Assembly elections are due in between. For instance, five states including Assam will go to polls in 2021, which will be an acid test for the new party chief.

The entire crisis was precipitated by a letter written by 23 top party leaders to Sonia Gandhi calling for sweeping organisational changes, recommending �an institutional leadership mechanism to collectively guide the party�s revival�. They say it is a �national imperative� intrinsic to the health of democracy in the country.�

The letter, sent earlier this month, was signed by leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Manish Tewari, Raj Babbar, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Kapil Sibal, Milind Deora, Prithviraj Chavan and Arvinder Singh Lovely � cutting across loyalty lines in the party.

The leaders have suggested in the letter a collective full-time leadership that is �visible and effective�. They have also called for strengthening and empowering of state units, and free, fair and democratic internal polls.

Earlier this month, Sonia had reportedly told Rahul and Priyanka as well as party leaders Ahmed Patel and KC Venugopal that she had completed a year as the interim chief of the party and a full-time party president must be appointed at the earliest.

However, since the party was then negotiating the Rajasthan political crisis, Sonia did not step down then. Back then, the party leaders who were trying to pacify Sachin Pilot had also informed him that an AICC revamp is on the cards to address the organisational issues.

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Sonia Gandhi likely to resign as Cong president

NEW DELHI, Aug 23 - Amid the ongoing political speculation over the leadership of the Congress party, its interim president Sonia Gandhi is likely to announce her resignation at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday. It has been learnt that Sonia Gandhi�s resignation from the post of president may formally be announced at the CWC meet tomorrow.

After the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi resigned as the party president in August last year, taking responsibility for the debacle of the Congress party in the polls. Sonia Gandhi has been the party�s interim chief since then.

A faction within the party wants Rahul Gandhi to lead the Congress. However, Rahul Gandhi has made it known that he is still unwilling to take charge and will take a final call next year. However, the fact remains that within the Congress there is an increasing demand that a Gandhi should be once again be anointed as Congress president, said a senior the Congress leader.

He cited the instance of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who has opposed the challenge to the Gandhi family leadership and advocated that Sonia Gandhi should continue.

However, within the Congress, there is also a growing demand for holding elections to the post of the party president and for the seats of the CWC.

According to sources, a section within the party has proposed the name of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for the post of Congress president. Names of others are also in circulation, including Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, among others.

The leaders pointed out that a non-Gandhi can take charge because the general elections are not due until 2024 though a number of crucial State Assembly elections are due in between. For instance, five states including Assam will go to polls in 2021, which will be an acid test for the new party chief.

The entire crisis was precipitated by a letter written by 23 top party leaders to Sonia Gandhi calling for sweeping organisational changes, recommending �an institutional leadership mechanism to collectively guide the party�s revival�. They say it is a �national imperative� intrinsic to the health of democracy in the country.�

The letter, sent earlier this month, was signed by leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Manish Tewari, Raj Babbar, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Kapil Sibal, Milind Deora, Prithviraj Chavan and Arvinder Singh Lovely � cutting across loyalty lines in the party.

The leaders have suggested in the letter a collective full-time leadership that is �visible and effective�. They have also called for strengthening and empowering of state units, and free, fair and democratic internal polls.

Earlier this month, Sonia had reportedly told Rahul and Priyanka as well as party leaders Ahmed Patel and KC Venugopal that she had completed a year as the interim chief of the party and a full-time party president must be appointed at the earliest.

However, since the party was then negotiating the Rajasthan political crisis, Sonia did not step down then. Back then, the party leaders who were trying to pacify Sachin Pilot had also informed him that an AICC revamp is on the cards to address the organisational issues.

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