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Crucial CWC meet today; Sonia Gandhi set to quit as Congress chief, Rahul, Priyanka reluctant to accept post

Around 23 top Congress leaders, including former Chief Ministers, MPs, former Union Ministers and Congress Working Committee (CWC) members have written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi regarding complete change in the party leadership and the current internal crisis in the Congress, according to reports.

SNS | New Delhi |

The crucial meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) is set to be held today amid talks of a leadership change in the party at the top, regarding which many Congress leaders have written to Sonia Gandhi even though the party has denied existence of any letter in this regard.

The meeting of the party’s top decision-making body will be held at 11 am via video conference.

The meeting comes weeks after the Congress saw a stormy meeting of its Rajya Sabha MPs wherein certain leaders sought introspection on the 2019 poll debacle. Thereafter, a bunch of leaders wrote a letter to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi on issue of leadership change and elections in the CWC.

Around 23 top Congress leaders, including former Chief Ministers, MPs, former Union Ministers and Congress Working Committee (CWC) members have written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi regarding complete change in the party leadership and the current internal crisis in the Congress, according to reports.

The letter calls 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.

With the recent developments within the party, Sonia Gandhi looks set to announce her decision to resign as the interim President.

Sonia Gandhi, 73, is likely to go ahead with her resignation as President and insist on the party finding a replacement for her as Congress chief.

According to reports on Sunday , Gandhi had told her aides that she does not want to continue as interim Congress president.

Congress Communication Department chief Randeep Surjewala, however, denied any such move, saying nothing has been communicated by the interim President or said on her behalf.

Meanwhile, the alleged August 7 letter by the “dissidents” has split the Congress down the middle with leaders like Amarinder Singh, Bhupesh Baghel and Siddaramaiah coming out in support of the Gandhis.

In a major setback to dissenters seeking a leadership change in the Congress, all four party Chief Ministers and various state units have sided with the Gandhis and lashed out against those who had written the letter for change and leaked it to the media.

It is now raining letters in favour of interim party chief Sonia Gandhi and former President Rahul Gandhi.

The current Congress President Sonia Gandhi took the interim position after her son Rahul Gandhi had 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.

Amidst the “palace coup” as termed by Congress insiders, a report in NDTV said that neither former president Rahul Gandhi nor party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi are keen on accepting the position of the President.

While Rahul Gandhi is firm on not returning as Congress president, he is keen to continue to work for the party and fight the BJP-led RSS.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is also clear she will remain as a general secretary and not take on any bigger leadership role in the party, the NDTV report said.

Before stepping down as party president last year, Rahul Gandhi had said that the party should search for a new leader outside the Gandhi family and specifically asked the party not to rope in his mother and sister for the position.

Earlier, on August 17, sacked Congress leader Sanjay Jha had said that around 100 Congress leaders, including Member of Parliament, had written to Sonia Gandhi regarding the change in the party leadership and transparent elections in the party, but the party denied his Twitter revelation.

Taking it to Twitter, Jha had said, “It is estimated that around 100 Congress leaders (including MP’s), distressed at the state of affairs within the party, have written a letter to Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Congress President, asking for change in political leadership and transparent elections in CWC.”

However, the Congress denied any such activity and had termed Jha a “BJP stooge”.

At the CWC meet today, the pro-Gandhi brigade is likely to take on the dissenters, while many names have started doing the rounds, especially two Dalit leaders – Mallikarjun Kharge and Sushilkumar Shinde, as likely replacements if Sonia Gandhi doesn’t want to continue.

While Kharge is close to Rahul Gandhi, Shinde has been a former Home Minister and Maharashtra Chief Minister.

Sources quoted by IANS say that a collective system may also be proposed or a team of leaders may be appointed as Vice Presidents to assist Sonia Gandhi in case there is no consensus on the change of the leadership and Rahul Gandhi does not want to return to the leadership role.