Rahul Gandhi For Broader Consultation To Pick Congress Chief: Sources

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The leaders of the Congress’s state units and the Congress Legislature Parties will be invited to take part in the consultation to take a final call.

NEW DELHI: 

The new Congress president should be selected after more consultation with state leaders and the legislature party, Rahul Gandhi, who stepped down as chief after the disastrous national election results, said on Friday at a meeting. This comes amid sources in the party saying that the new chief is likely to be chosen on Saturday at a Congress Working Committee meeting.

In the meeting, it was decided that leaders of the Congress’s state units and the Congress Legislature Parties will be invited to take part in the consultation to take a final call on the new party president.

Congress leader Mukul Wasnik has emerged as the front runner for the post left vacant after Rahul Gandhi quit in May, after the party’s crushing defeat in the national elections.

This would be the first time in two decades that a non-Gandhi will be the party president.  Mr Wasnik, 59, is expected to take charge at least till the organizational elections.

In its 134-year history, India’s oldest political party has mostly had a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family in charge. But at a time all three Gandhis are in politics, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have refused to be a part of the process.

The Congress Working Committee will formally thank Rahul Gandhi for his role as president, the sources said, indicating that the party had officially given up attempts to persuade the 49-year-old to withdraw his resignation.

Top leaders including AK Antony, Ahmed Patel and KV Venugopal were at the meeting at Sonia Gandhi’s house. Sources say the leaders decided that there would be no more delay on picking the next Congress president.

For over two months, the Congress has been in a period of stasis. As its leaders tried and failed to change Rahul Gandhi’s mind, the party could not agree on a replacement.

COMMENT

The extent of its organizational mess was apparent when the Congress fumbled through its objections to the government’s move to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and split it into two union territories.

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