Rahul Gandhi says he “will consider” re-chairing Congress at the meeting (Pic Credit: twitter @INCIndia)
Rahul Gandhi has said he “will consider" returning as a congressman, sources said Saturday after it emerged that several high-ranking politicians, including the Prime Ministers of Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, had urged former Defense Minister AK Antony had urged the Kerala MP to come back.
Statements were made at today's CWC meeting calling for his return. There it was decided that the elections for the highest party post would take place between August 21 and September 20 of next year.
"Entire Congress party and workers unanimously want Rahul Gandhi as leader," KC Venugopal said.
"Everybody agreed unanimously... whether he (Rahul Gandhi) will become or not is up to him. Everybody is of the opinion that Rahul Gandhi should become the party President," senior leader Ambika Soni was quoted by news agency ANI.
Former Union Minister and Lok Sabha President Meira Kumar said: "Talks were held (about Mr Gandhi as party chief) and everyone unanimously said his name."
The Prime Minister of Punjab, Charanjit Channi, called on Gandhi to take over the leadership of the party now.
"I will consider..." Mr Gandhi replied, according to sources.
Rahul Gandhi resigned from Congress two years ago after the party atrociously withdrew from the 2019 Lok Sabha elections; His resignation plunged the party into a leadership crisis from which it did not fully recover and led to the reinstatement of his mother Sonia Gandhi as interim president.
This is far from the first time Mr. Gandhi has been invited to come back.
Last December, Randeep Surjewala said: "99.9 per cent want Rahul Gandhi as President" and in January, the Delhi unit passed a resolution calling on it to regain control.
The Delhi resolution came days after another CWC meeting in which Gandhi reportedly said: "Once and for all, finish it (internal elections) and move on."
So far Mr. Gandhi has been steadfast in his refusal to return; When he resigned in 2019, Gandhi had brought in someone outside of Nehru-Gandhi to lead the party (unthinkable for some).
But while he says "no" to the highest office, the Gandhis remain the center of power and no major party decisions are taken without their consent - another concern of the "G-23".
Today's appeals also come as Ms Gandhi emphasized her position as "full-time and hands on" party leader; he responded to critics - such as the "G-23" - who called for organizational restructuring and the choice of "visible and effective leadership".
Ms. Gandhi made a number of pointed statements, including telling critics that a resumption of Congress would be welcome, but "requires unity and keeping the party's interests paramount".
"Above all, it requires self-control and discipline. I am acutely conscious of the fact I have been interim Congress President ever since the CWC asked me to return in this capacity in 2019," she said, noted that internal elections were scheduled for June this year before Covid struck.
"G-23" was the name of a group of high-ranking congressional leaders, including veterans such as Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma, Shashi Tharoor and Ghulam Nabi Azad, who questioned the leadership of the Gandhi family and called for organizational changes, including new polls. .
At today's CWC meeting, the party also discussed key government polls for next year, including in Punjab, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. Sources said an overwhelming majority chose to conduct full internal polls rather than half-elections so that the party could focus on these parliamentary elections.
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