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Amid Congress leadership crisis, party leaders converge on Rahul Gandhi residence

Among those present were Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, KC Venugopal, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy CM Sachin Pilot; Congress is expected to convene another CWC meeting in the next four days when the leadership issue is likely to be discussed

SNS | New Delhi |

With party president Rahul Gandhi still insisting on stepping down from the Congress leadership role after the party’s rout in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, party leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Randeep Singh Surjewala, KC Venugopal, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot were seen at his residence on Tuesday.

It was not immediately known as to what transpired at the meeting.

Gandhi had offered to tender his resignation during a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision making body of the party, on Saturday but it was unanimously rejected.

The CWC also authorised Rahul Gandhi on Saturday to make structural changes in the party.

According to reports, Gandhi was scheduled to meet Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, but he declined to meet him on Monday despite an appointment. He reportedly asked him to meet veteran party leader KC Venugopal, instead.

On Tuesday, Gehlot reportedly reached Rahul Gandhi’s residence after Pilot had left.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was the first to arrive in the morning, followed by Surjewala and Venugopal, while Pilot reached some time later. They all had separate meetings with Rahul Gandhi for a little less than an hour. After Pilot, Venugopal and Surjewala left, Gehlot reached and had a meeting with the party president.

On Monday, Rahul Gandhi had declined to meet Gehlot despite an appointment and asked him to meet Venugopal instead.

Uttar Pradesh Congress leader Pramod Tiwari too met Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday.

The Congress is expected to convene another CWC meeting in the next four days when the leadership issue is likely to be discussed.

There were speculation that party treasurer Ahmed Patel and general secretary KC Venugopal met Rahul on Monday and tried to persuade him to change his mind on quitting as the party president.

Patel however said later he had gone to meet Rahul for “routine administrative work”.

“I had sought time before the CWC to meet the Congress President to discuss routine administrative work. The meeting today was in that context. All other speculation is incorrect and baseless,” Patel tweeted.

Randeep Singh Surjewala too posted a statement on Twitter and said: “CWC is a democratic forum to exchange ideas & take corrective action.

Congress expects everyone including the media to respect the sanctity of a closed door meet.

Various conjectures, speculations, insinuations, gossip & rumour mongering in a section of media is unwarranted.”

While Rahul Gandhi had offered to resign taking moral responsibility for the party’s defeat, six state party chiefs have already tendered their resignations. They six are Sunil Jhakar (Punjab), Ajoy Kumar (Jharkhand), Ripun Bora (Assam), Ashok Chavan (Maharashtra), Raj Babbar (Uttar Pradesh) and Niranjan Patnaik (Odisha).

The Karanataka Pradesh Congress campaign committee chairman, H K Patil, has resigned too, and so has Yogendra Misra, the district Congress chief in Amethi, who owned moral responsibility for Rahul Gandhi’s defeat from the seat.

(With agency inputs)