Congress to elect new party president in June: Details here
The Congress on Friday decided that it will elect a new party president in June this year, after the Assembly elections in five poll-bound states, which are expected to be conducted by May, are concluded. At a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, the party also decided that Sonia Gandhi will continue as the interim chief for the upcoming polls in five states. Here's more.
Addressing a press conference after the CWC meeting, General Secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC), KC Venugopal, said the party's top decision-making body has decided that there will be a new, elected Congress president in June 2021. Further, the dates for the internal elections will reportedly be announced soon and interim president Sonia would take the final decision in the matter.
"The CWC unanimously decided that the new elected Congress president should be in place by June 2021," said Venugopal. "The CWC considered the election schedule of May 29 proposed by the central election authority and unanimously agreed to extend the schedule until June as counting for five state elections could be happening in May," the AICC General Secretary added.
The elections for the Congress president post were reportedly due in August 2020. But, the CWC said that internal elections to appoint a new party president will be held by February 2021. However, it has now pushed the internal polls ahead again by four months.
Meanwhile, the CWC also passed three resolutions on issues of national importance. It demanded a repeal of the contentious farm laws and asked the government to ensure free COVID-19 vaccination for the poor and oppressed. It demanded a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the purported WhatsApp chats of Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami for violations of national security and the Official Secrets Act.
At the Friday meeting, senior Congress leaders P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, and Mukul Wasnik reportedly called for immediate organizational elections. Notably, they are among the leaders who, in recent months, raised questions over Congress's leadership and management following multiple election defeats. An argument had also erupted between two groups at the CWC meeting over the issue of internal elections, said reports.
Opposing those demanding immediate elections, many Gandhi family loyalists, including Ashok Gehlot, Amarinder Singh, and AK Antony, among others, said internal elections should be held after the Assembly polls. Commenting on the issue, a Congress leader said, "Whose agenda are we working toward? BJP doesn't talk about internal elections like our party? The first priority is to fight the state elections then organizational elections."
To recall, 23 Congress leaders—dubbed the G-23—had written an unprecedented "dissent letter" to Sonia back in August 2020, demanding internal elections and called for active and visible leadership, changes in the organization, and collective decision-making. They also demanded elections to the CWC following which a meeting was convened at which Sonia said the internal elections should be held in six months i.e., February 2021.
According to reports, Sonia has now made it clear she wouldn't be running for the post of Congress president. She took charge as the interim president of the party in 2019 after her son, Rahul Gandhi, quit as the Congress president. He had resigned from the post in 2019 following the party's embarrassing defeat in the Lok Sabha elections that year.