The Congress party, staring at a massive setback following the exit of party veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, held a key meeting yesterday and announced that it would hold the election for its president on October 17. The results for the elections are to be announced on October 19.
While one looks at the list of possible contenders, one name appears to dominate the favourite list, but the name is no surprise. ‘Rahul Gandhi remains No.1 choice,’ Congress workers declared, even as the former president of the party stands firm that he doesn’t want the top post.
— Congress (@INCIndia) August 28, 2022
Sources say there was no mention of Rahul Gandhi taking over as the Congress President in the 30-minute CWC meeting presided over by Sonia Gandhi who is abroad for medical checkups, but the chorus for #RahulForPresident grows.
“Frankly from everybody that I have spoken to or I have sensed their opinion, he remains the number one (choice) and he remains the only one. We have no indications as to whether he will accept our request,” Salman Khurshid, a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee, told PTI.
Not just Khurshid, several senior members of the party have insisted on backing Rahul Gandhi to be the chief. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who happens to be in the list of contenders for the top post, sought to play down reports about him being the frontrunner and said efforts would be made till the last minute to persuade Rahul Gandhi to take over the reins of the party once again.
The Leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge also echoed the sentiment and said Rahul Gandhi would be persuaded to return as Congress president as there is none in the party other than him who has a pan-India appeal.
The leadership crisis is a long standing issue for the grand old party that last held polls for the top post in 2000 and has often faced criticism over dynastic politics due to the control of the Gandhi family over its affairs.
Sonia Gandhi remains the longest serving party president and has been at the helm since 1998 barring a two-year period between 2017-19 when Rahul Gandhi took over. Rahul Gandhi resigned as Congress president after the party suffered its second consecutive defeat in the 2019 parliamentary elections.
Sonia Gandhi then took over the reins of the party once again as interim president and had offered to quit in 2020 after an open revolt by a section of leaders – referred to as G-23, but the CWC had urged her to continue. Sonia Gandhi who is the current working president said she would not carry on as the party chief citing health reasons.