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.
Congress leader KC Venugopal: Congress Working Committee unanimously resolved that Rahul Gandhi should continue as Congress president & requested him to accept this decision, however, he declined to withdraw his resignation. pic.twitter.com/B3KPOID5TM
— ANI (@ANI) August 10, 2019
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.
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.
“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.
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.