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Congress likely to appoint panel of 4 senior leaders to assist Sonia Gandhi till new party chief elected

After a marathon seven-hour long meeting in the wake of a letter demanding change in leadership, the Congress party on Monday decided that Sonia Gandhi will remain party chief, at least for the next six months.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Congress is likely to appoint a panel of senior leaders to assist interim chief Sonia Gandhi till she is at the helm of affairs, for though the party maintains all is well but the discontent, evinced by a letter seeking a leadership change, may not have been fully doused.

Sources quoted by IANS said that the party may appoint a panel of four persons to take important decisions.

After a marathon seven-hour long meeting in the wake of a letter demanding change in leadership, the Congress party on Monday decided that Sonia Gandhi will remain party chief, at least for the next six months.

The party has reportedly set a time frame of six months for a session of the All India Congress Committee to search for the new chief as Sonia Gandhi has made it clear that she is not willing to continue at the post any more.

The Congress working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body, has authorised the Congress President to affect “necessary organisational changes” that she may deem appropriate to take on the challenges.

“In the light of the above deliberations and conclusions, the CWC unanimously requests Sonia Gandhi to continue to lead the Congress until such time as circumstances will permit an AICC session to be convened,” party General Secretary, Organisation, KC Venugopal said, after the key meeting.

Hinting at the committee, several leaders said that Sonia Gandhi will be assisted by four persons so that the consultation process is more wide than what she had done in past while going for treatment abroad.

Gandhi on Monday requested the party to relieve her from her current role and asked the Congress Working Committee (CWC) members “to begin deliberations toward the process of transition to relieve her from the duty of party president”.

“A year has lapsed now. In the interest of the party, I ask CWC to begin deliberations to put in a place of process of transition to relieve me from my duties,” said Sonia Gandhi.

Ending the meeting on an emotional note, she said, “I am hurt but they are my colleagues, bygones are bygones, let us work together.”

The meeting came weeks after around 23 top Congress leaders, including former Chief Ministers, MPs, former Union Ministers and CWC members wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi on the issue of leadership change and elections in the CWC.

The letter called for an urgent need for “full time and effective leadership”, which is both “visible’’ and “active’’ and an “urgent establishment of an institutional leadership mechanism” to “collectively guide the party’s revival’’.

It also asked for decentralisation of power, elections in the party at all levels and empowerment of its state units.

The letter is reportedly signed by many senior leaders of the party including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Prithviraj Chavan, PJ Kurian, Renuka Chaudhary, and Milind Deora.

The current Congress President Sonia Gandhi took the interim position post her son, Rahul Gandhi resigned after suffering a massive defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Her one-year term as the party President ended on August 10, but the party said that she will continue on the post till a proper procedure was implemented.

Meanwhile, it was reported that neither former chief Rahul Gandhi nor party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi are keen on accepting the position of the President.