Congress Working Committee still nowhere near finding Rahul Gandhi’s successor 

With all the five party sub-groups unitedly proposing Rahul's name as party chief, and Rahul refusing to go back on his decision, the mantle fell on Sonia again to shepherd the party.

Published: 10th August 2019 11:05 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2019 08:29 AM   |  A+A-

Senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi arrives for Congress Working Committee CWC meeting at AICC HQ in New Delhi on Saturday August 10 2019. | PTI

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: That the Congress and the Gandhi family seem to be tied together with an umbilical cord was again evident on Saturday when the Congress Working Committee could not come to a decision on replacing Rahul Gandhi. During a CWC meeting in the morning, many members requested Rahul to reconsider his decision to resign, but he said there was no going back. 

Unable to come to a consensus, the party’s top decision making body decided to constitute five consultative groups for further confabulations, following which it was to meet again at 8.30 pm to announce the new Congress president. Sonia Gandhi, the UPA chairperson, and Rahul excused themselves from the consultations so that their views don’t influence others, the party said.

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The CWC was divided into five subgroups: east, west, north, south, and northeast, comprising over 400 office-bearers, including PCC chiefs, the AICC secretary and MPs. The subgroups were authorised to suggest a replacement for Rahul. Sources said a majority in the consultative groups again suggested Rahul’s name. At the time of going to press, the CWC’s second meeting in a span of 10 hours was still on. “The decision may not come today,” said a leader. 

Many favoured a young leadership, and that brought Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot into contention, while some said that leaders from poll-pound Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Haryana should not be elected.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi with senior party leader Sonia Gandhi during Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting at AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Aug 10 2019. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

“In all subgroups, the majority of people said that Rahul Gandhi was their only choice for the party chief and he should be convinced to lead the party. Some batted for a young chief to lead the party, which also found resonance among the old guard,” said an AICC secretary who attended the consultation for the north region.

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After the consultation meetings, Puducherry CM V Narayansamy said that only the Gandhi family could lead the party. Rajya Sabha MP and former Punjab Congress chief Pratap Singh Bajwa told a subgroup that without Rahul the party would disintegrate. In the run-up to the CWC meet, Mukul Wasnik, Mallikarjun Kharge and Kumari Selja were being mentioned as possible successors to Rahul.

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