After a marathon seven-hour long meeting coming right after a letter demanding change in leadership was sent to its chief, the Congress party on Monday decided that Sonia Gandhi will remain party chief, at least for the next six months.
As per the reports, the party has 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 loud and clear that she is not willing to continue at the post any more.
Ending the meeting on an emotional note, she said, “I am hurt but they are my colleagues, bygones are bygones, let us work together.”
Former Prime Minister and a close aid of Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh has moved a resolution asking her to continue on the post.
“The CWC unanimously requests Sonia Gandhi to continue to lead the Indian National Congress until such time as circumstances will permit an AICC session to be convened,” KC Venugopal said at a press conference.
On the letter written by the 23 senior Congress leaders, he said, “The CWC has extensively deliberated on the letters and detailed discussions were made.”
“CWC places on record the following: First, the last six months have seen the nation in the throes of multiple crises. We have been beset by the Corona pandemic that continues to claim thousands of lives; downward spiralling economy; massive job losses and growing poverty, and brazen aggression into and occupation of Indian territory by the Chinese,” he said.
“Second, the two voices that have been at the forefront of exposing the Government’s inadequate responses, divisive politics and audacious propaganda are of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi,” he added.
“The CWC, reflecting the overwhelming view and desire of the rank and file of the Congress, unanimously resolved to strengthen the hands of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in every possible way,” Venugopal said.
“CWC makes it clear no one will be or can be permitted to undermine or weaken the party and its leadership at this juncture. Responsibility of every Congress worker, leader today is to fight the pernicious assault on India’s democracy, pluralism diversity by the Modi Government,” he said.
“Third, and most importantly, voices of our two leaders have inspired a generation of Indians, both within and outside of Congress, to rise and demand answers from this Government which seeks to desperately distract the people through shallow and manufactured issues,” he added.
“It’s under their leadership that crores of Congress workers, supporters have reached out to fill large, callous gaps in governance left by this Govt due to which millions belonging to poor, middle class have been unjustly deprived of their rights and livelihoods,” KC Venugopal said.
“Fourthly, the CWC notes that inner-party issues cannot be deliberated through the media or in public fora. The CWC urges and advises all concerned to raise such issues only in party for a in the interest of propriety and discipline.”
“Fifthly, the CWC authorises the Congress President to affect necessary organisational changes that she may deem appropriate to take on the challenges listed above,” he said.
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, 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.