NEW DELHI: The Congress’s top decision-making body, the Working Committee, is meeting to select a leader, giving up hopes of Rahul Gandhi rolling back his decision to quit the party’s top job. The party is expected to choose an interim chief, and make a final decision only after consulting their state units. Five committees have been formed to carry on consultation with five zones. Veteran leader Mukul Wasnik, seen as close to the Gandhis, is considered a frontrunner for the post. Mallikarjun Kharge is seen as a contender. Rahul Gandhi had quit two months ago after the party’s disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha election.
- There is suspense over whether the party will elect its new leader and go by nomination, as it happened traditionally.
- Rahul Gandhi, sources said, is in favour of a broad consultation before zeroing in on a candidate. At a meeting of Congress leaders on Friday, Mr Gandhi said a new Congress president should be chosen after more consultation with state leaders and the legislature party, sources said.
- The Congress’s state units and the legislature parties are taking part in today’s today. The committees will represent the east, north-east, south, west and north zones.
- The election comes ahead of a string of state elections later this year. There has been criticism that the party’s inability to sort out the leadership issue has drawn attention away from these key elections – the first since the Lok Sabha elections.
- The Congress had been decimated in the Lok Sabha elections, winning only 52 seats – a marginal increase over its score of 44 in the 2014 election. Accentuating the defeat, Mr Gandhi’s had lost his traditional family turf Amethi to the BJP’s Smriti Irani.
- Insisting that “accountability” must be maintained, Rahul Gandhi has stuck to his decision – announced at the closed-door meeting of the Working Committee on May 25 – and asked the party to look for a replacement.
- He has also ruled out his mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s taking over the top post, underscoring that the Congress must look for a non-Gandhi leader.
- Rahul Gandhi had also made it clear that he would not be involved in the selection process “otherwise it will complicate things”.
- Mr Gandhi, however, is attending the Working Committee meeting and is part of the zonal committee for western India – Maharashtra is the largest state where elections will be held next.
- For most of its 134-year history, the Congress always had the Gandhis at the helm, except for several years in the 90s after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated. But the party did not do well under Sitaram Kesri and several leaders convinced Sonia Gandhi to take the reins of the party.
Source By NDTV