The Congress Working Committee on Monday passed a unanimous resolution for Sonia Gandhi to continue as the party’s interim president. The key party meeting lasted around seven hours. Congress will, however, pick a new president within six months.
Gandhi told members of her party that they had to set their differences aside and work together for the country as it battles the coronavirus crisis, Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said at a press briefing. Gandhi said that she had no ill will towards the leaders who had complained about the leadership crisis in the party.
“We are a large family, we have differences but we have to come together as one,” Surjewala quoted Gandhi as saying. “We need to fight for the people and forces that are failing this country.” Surjewala added that nearly all members of the Congress were in favour of Rahul Gandhi returning to the top post.
Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal, who joined Surjewala for the press conference, claimed that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were among the strongest voices of opposition in the country. “Sonia Gandhi’s hard questions on the handling of the migrants’ crisis put this Government to shame,” Venugopal said. “She ensured that Congress-ruled states tackled the pandemic effectively and provided access to healthcare and treatment to all sections of the people. Rahul Gandhi has resolutely led the fight against the government from the front.”
Venugopal added that no one will be allowed to undermine Congress’ leadership. He also said that Congress leaders should raise their complaints only within the party forum.
Congress Working Committee President PL Punia also said that the party leaders expressed faith in the leadership of the Gandhis at the meeting. “The members expressed faith in Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and urged her to continue leading party and she agreed,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. Punia added that the party would elect a new president within six months.
KH Muniyappa, a member of the Congress Working Committee, meanwhile, said that even leaders like Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad had no complaints against the party’s leadership. Sharma and Azad were among the 23 party leaders who wrote to Gandhi, asking for an overhaul of the party’s leadership.
“There is no different opinion on leadership and even Ghulam Nabi Azad ji, Mukul Wasnik ji and Anand Sharma ji have given in writing that there is no dispute on leadership,” Muniyappa said.
Congress leader Ambika Soni, meanwhile, said that the leaders who wrote the dissenting letter to Gandhi must be punished, according to NDTV.
The Congress’s key meeting was convened on Monday after Gandhi offered to step down from the top post and said that she was in favour of appointing a new president.
The Congress is in the middle of an internal crisis, which was triggered after at least 23 party leaders wrote to Gandhi demanding a complete overhaul of the organisation. The letter, which was written on August 15, urged Gandhi to address the leadership question in the party and claimed the uncertainty around it “has demoralised party workers and weakened the institution”. The signatories of the letter included Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Prithviraj Chavan, Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Milind Deora and Jitin Prasada.