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Party’s poll authority awaits CWC nod to election for Congress president:

A majority of the party leaders feel that Rahul Gandhi should take over as Congress president, but there is no clarity from him since he quit the post after the 2019 poll debacle.

Nikhil Vyas | New Delhi |

The Central Election Authority (CEA) of the Congress, which is authorised to conduct organisational polls, is awaiting a go-ahead from the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to go ahead with the party’s presidential election slated to be held between August 21 and September 20 this year, sources said on Saturday.

A majority of the party leaders feel that Rahul Gandhi should take over as Congress president, but there is no clarity from him since he quit the post after the 2019 poll debacle.

The CEA has completed the voters’ list before the CWC takes a final call, sources said.

Also, the Congress is chalking out an interim plan to continue Sonia Gandhi as party president and appoint a working president for each zone, an idea mooted some time back. Another name doing the rounds is that of Sonia loyalist Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. He has reportedly denied the top post and asserted that Rahul Gandhi should take over as party president.

The process of election for the Congress president was to begin from August 21, but the CWC meeting has not been called as yet. Some leaders from Scheduled Castes who could be given the top post include Sushil Kumar Shinde, Mallikarjun Kharge and Meira Kumar. Kharge is Rahul Gandhi’s confidante and can be instrumental in Karnataka polls.

However, sources said that former party president Rahul Gandhi has lined up a series of meetings with state units. He also plans to visit every district in the country in the run-up to the general elections. The plan is yet to be finalised.

Rahul Gandhi’s insistence on a non-Gandhi taking over the position has left the party in a dilemma. Leaders close to him have been trying to convince him to re-assume the post.

The Congress Working Committee members have appealed many times to Rahul Gandhi to take over as the president of the party, but he has been reluctant. Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni said: “All the members were unanimous that Rahul Gandhi should take over as president of the Congress party.” The CWC has given the go-ahead to the internal elections of the party.

The CWC had approved the organisational elections and the schedule had been decided.

The election of the PCC President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and PCC Executive and AICC Members by the PCC general body was earlier scheduled to be over by August 20.

The election of CWC members and other bodies by AICC members during the preliminary session (date to be announced later) will preferably be held in September-October.