Congress president Sonia Gandhi is likely to offer her resignation in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, which is scheduled to be held on Monday (today) at 11 am, sources said.
Earlier on the media reports of her quitting as party’s chief, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had said that the “reports are false”, but according to sources, “73-years-old Gandhi is upset amid a massive controversy over a letter by more than 20 senior leaders calling for ‘full time’ active leadership, sweeping reforms and raising questions about the party’s condition and direction, as well as demanding the election of the CWC.
The meeting of Congress’s highest decision-making body is expected to be at a very ‘high voltage mode’ as Sonia Gandhi’s resignation will not be accepted by the CWC members, the sources added.
Sonia Gandhi was appointed as an interim president a year ago (on August 10, 2019) by the CWC, after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had stepped down as party President, taking the responsibility of poll debacle in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
This is the second time Gandhis are witnessing resentment within the party after 1999 when Sharad Pawar, Tariq Anwar, PA Sangma had raised questions on her origin. This time it is ‘not personal’ contrary to the 1999 situation.
Gandhi family loyalists and Congress Chief Ministers took on the section of leaders who signed the letter and rallied behind the Gandhi family, calling for Sonia to stay or Rahul Gandhi to take charge again. There exist ‘battle of opinions’ among the party leaders.
Former law minister and Congress leader Salman Khurshid said, ” Where are the leaders who raised questions on Sonia Gandhi’s origin in 1999? Are the resenting leaders in the party. Ask them where they are. Do they still have resentment? I was in the Congress party back then and I am in the party now and will be in the party. I have no resentment. I am a committed party member and I laud the decisions of our leaders.”
Various leaders including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Karnataka unit chief DK Shivakumar have requested Sonia Gandhi to continue as party president.
Sources said that strategy has been chalked out by the loyalists that if the CWC members who said to have written the letter to Sonia Gandhi will debate the issue and express their views then “the reply will be given in the same manner with facts as close members of team Rahul who are in the CWC will offer their resignation in the meet too,” sources said.
“Rahul Gandhi is not ready to take up the post of party president but leaders close to him are hopeful as he is playing an active role in taking on Modi Government and looking after the party affairs,” sources added.
Congress party’s internal system is also taking extra precautions for the meet as the new app will be used for Video-Conferencing of the meeting. Mock Tests have also been done this time and every member of CWC has been asked to remain present in the meeting.
While Congress party internal conflict has come out in open over leadership issue as calls have grown for having a non-Gandhi as party president. The issue will have to be debated in the meeting if Sonia Gandhi refused to continue as Congress chief.
An internal dispute had emerged regarding “leadership” issues in the party after several senior Congress leaders reportedly have written to party interim president Sonia Gandhi raising a 5-Point Agenda to revive the party, emphasising the need for active leadership in the party and raising questions about the party’s condition and direction, as well as demanding the election of the Congress Working Committee.
Sections of the party feel that the uncertainty over the leadership issue should end soon as it will help the party take on the BJP-led government more forcefully.