A leadership change in the Congress is imminent as president Sonia Gandhi has asked general secretary in-charge of organisation KC Venugopal to find another person for the top post. As Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra maintain that both of them should not be considered for the post, a meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Monday will be significant for the party.
About 23 top leaders of the party, including Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and his deputy Anand Sharma, asked Sonia Gandhi for a “permanent” leader for the party. Though they did not challenge the Gandhi family’s leadership, they pointed out several organisational and political lacunae in the present-day functioning of the party.
Discussions for a successor to Sonia Gandhi have started within the Congress. Sources in the party indicate that there are five names which will be acceptable both to the family and to other party leaders in general. The names that are taking rounds are: AICC Treasurer Ahmed Patel, former Defence Minister AK Antony, Azad, former leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, and AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik.
Meanwhile, a section of the party has started efforts to convince Rahul Gandhi to come back to the position. Opposition leader in Kerala Ramesh Chennithala had written a detailed letter to the Nehru scion asking him to take up the mantle in the fight against Narendra Modi government. A number of other Congress functionaries, too, had also written public letters to Rahul Gandhi.
But, the senior brigade in the party does not favour Rahul Gandhi’s return. They allege that Rahul Gandhi’s organisational experiments failed to energise the party. “He should have taken up responsibilities during the second UPA government. But he was averse of taking up a ministerial post. Very reluctantly, he became vice president of the party and later president. But he could not energise the party at the time of a crisis,” a senior leader said.
Another section wants election to the post. “The CWC must take a decision. If it is election, the it must take place immediately,” another leader said. Sources, however, are of the opinion that an election or an AICC session may not take place immediately due to the present problems owing to the lockdown.