Rahul Gandhi reluctant to be at helm, Congress may advance party polls


NEW DELHI: Amid continuing uncertainty over Rahul Gandhi’s keenness to lead the party as Congress chief, the party may decide to advance its organisational elections and kickstart the nomination process by August 20 and the withdrawal of nomination by September 3.
A meeting of the Congress Working Committee is likely soon and a decision on advancing the elections of the Congress president are expected to be formalised then. Sources said a proposal to file nominations between August 20 and 27, withdraw candidature by September 3, and to hold elections, if needed, on September 5, is likely to be put before the working committee for its approval.
Originally, Congress had said the election of the party president would be completed by September 20, when the five-year term of the earlier president ends. Even as election day looms, the question of who should lead the party continues to confound Congress’s rank and file, especially since Gandhi has maintained that he remains unwilling to don the mantle of party chief.
With Rahul’s persisting reluctance to lead, party members have not ruled out the possibility of incumbent interim chief Sonia Gandhi being re-elected as party chief. Rahul has been resisting pressure from unanimous requests voiced at previous meetings of the CWCs that he become party chief again. At a recent huddle of Congress MPs, the former Congress chief, who resigned as president on the back of Congress’ poor performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, said he is happy being a “foot soldier of the party” who amplifies Congress’ ideological message not only to strengthen Indian democracy, but also to raise people’s issues and to fight against the alleged “assault” on India’s institutions by the Modi government.





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