NEW DELHI: The Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Sunday decided to hold the election for the party’s full-time president on October 17. The meeting, coming in the wake of Ghulam Nabi Azad’s exit from the party while levelling damaging charges against Rahul Gandhi, saw some uncomfortable moments with G-23 leader Anand Sharma raising questions over the electoral rolls.
Sources said Anand Sharma, questioning the preparations of electoral rolls for the Pesidential elections, demanded that electoral rolls of the Pradesh Congress Committees and District Congress Committees be distributed and publicised. The virtual meeting had no discussion on the recent explosive resignation of veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who blasted Rahul Gandhi for “childish behaviour”, “glaring immaturity” and for letting a “coterie of inexperienced sycophants” run the party. In his letter, addressed to party president Sonia Gandhi, he also lashed out at Rahul Gandhi for “demolishing the party’s entire consultative mechanism”.
The online CWC meeting started at 3:30 PM with Sonia Gandhi, who is abroad for medical checkups, presiding over it, flanked by former party chief Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Party sources had earlier said the process of the election of the president will be delayed by a few weeks, not more than that, and the party should have a full-time president in October.
The meeting comes amid several leaders, including Gehlot, having publicly exhorted Rahul Gandhi to return as the party chief. However, uncertainty and suspense continue on the issue.
Several party insiders say Rahul Gandhi is persisting with his stance that he will not be the AICC president.
Gehlot on Wednesday had sought to play down reports about him being the frontrunner for the Congress president’s post and said efforts will be made till the last minute to persuade Rahul Gandhi to take over the reins of the party again.Gehlot’s remarks had come a day after he met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, triggering the buzz that the two may have discussed the possibility of him being the next party president.
Rahul Gandhi had resigned as Congress president after the party suffered its second consecutive defeat in parliamentary elections in 2019.