The meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) ended today at about 5:45 PM with no change in the leadership of the party. After deliberating on the turmoil within the party for seven hours, the INC adopted a resolution that Sonia Gandhi would continue to lead the party.
Further, members of the CWC, the highest decision-making body of the Indian National Congress, decided to form a committee to help Gandhi in the routine functioning of the organisation.
A session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) will be called within six months where the future course of action will be decided.
Sonia Gandhi, who wanted to quit the post of party president, agreed to continue. She said after the marathon meeting, “Congress is one big family and I don’t hold anything against anyone. But all, especially senior leaders should raise concerns at the party forum only.”
Not only did the letter written earlier this month by 23 INC functionaries suggested a complete overhaul of the party but the Election Commission also had told the party it couldn’t continue with an interim president indefinitely. The 23 party functionaries had demanded a full-time president, a parliamentary board if a non-Gandhi became the party chief and collective leadership.
In her response, Gandhi asked the CWC members to begin the process of electing the next party president. She made a statement that KC Venugopal read out. Many leaders, repeating their show of loyalty in 2004 when Sonia Gandhi abdicated or was made to relinquish the post of the country’s prime minister, urged Gandhi to continue. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Three of the 23 ‘dissenters’ — Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Mukul Wasnik — lauded Sonia’s contribution to the party and insisted that their letter was not intended to question the leadership of the Nehru-Gandhi family.
Explaining the reasons for writing the letter to the INC president, Azad clarified that it was not directed against Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi as had been “misconstrued” allegedly by some people.
Party general secretary Ambika Soni demanded action against the dissenters, saying rules are equal for both seniors and juniors in the party.
Former union minister RPN Singh praised Sonia Gandhi for being available 24×7 to guide the party during Jharkhand elections. “We won the elections. Secondly, I want to tell all CWC members that we should all learn from Sonia Gandhi,” he told the CWC. Singh also wanted Sonia Gandhi to continue on the post till a new president is elected.
Sonia Gandhi completed a year as the party’s interim chief on 10 August. She was a full-fledged party president for over 19 years from May 1998 to December 2017 when Rahul Gandhi took over the reins from her. The son of the UPA chairperson resigned in May 2019 owning moral responsibility for the party’s rout in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.