Sonia Gandhi offers to quit as Congress interim president

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Intl desk, Aug 24: Sonia Gandhi has offered to resign as the Congress interim president. At the crucial Congress Working Committee, which met on Monday, Sonia Gandhi asked the committee to initiate the process for selecting a new party chief.

In her opening remarks at the CWC, called in the wake of a section of leaders seeking a “full time and visible” Congress president, Sonia Gandhi made the offer to quit saying she had given a detailed reply on the issue to AICC general secretary K C Venugopal.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who spoke after Sonia Gandhi, urged her to continue, so did former Defence Minister AK Antony, with both the veterans criticising the letter by some party leaders.

Sources said Sonia Gandhi referred to Azad and others twice during her brief address and issues raised by them.

Sonia Gandhi also handed over a detailed reply to Venugopal, who read out its contents at the CWC meeting in which Gandhi sought to be relieved from the post.

Sonia Gandhi’s offer to quit comes as the Congress stands divided on the leadership issue with a section demanding collective leadership and another reposing faith in the Gandhi family.

Sonia Gandhi’s decision to resign came after over 20 Congreess leaders wrote to her demanding a full-time, visible president and overhauling of the organisational structure including elections to the CWC and reconstitution of the Parliamentary board.

Massive support poured for the Gandhis on Sunday after the “pro-reform” leaders went public, with Congress chief ministers leading the calls for Sonia Gandhi to stay until Rahul Gandhi takes charge.

Almost all Lok Sabha MPs of the party wrote to Sonia Gandhi expressing solidarity and urging her to continue in her post or install Rahul Gandhi.

Ironically, at least three of the dissenters are themselves part of the same CWC. These include Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Mukul Wasnik.

Several party leaders, while supporting the continuation of Gandhis at the helm, accused those behind the letter of playing into the hands of the BJP and attempting to weaken the party at a time when there was a need to close ranks against the NDA government.

The dissenting leaders said the party has failed to conduct an honest introspection of its losses in 2014 and 2019, adding that the uncertainty over leadership has demoralised workers.