Sonia Gandhi meets Congress dissenters, hunt for new chief on
On Saturday morning, Congress President Sonia Gandhi met a section of dissenters, whose letter in August had sparked a major leadership crisis within the party. A series of meetings will be held over the next 10 days to select the new President of the grand old party. Rahul Gandhi, Sonia's son and the former President of the party, also attended the meeting, said reports.
Context: In letter, 23 Congress leaders demanded sweeping changes
A group of 23 leaders, dubbed G-23, wrote an unprecedented letter in August, calling for sweeping changes within the party. The letter's idea was seeded at a dinner hosted by Shashi Tharoor. The letter sparked a discussion, a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) was convened, and later it was decided that Sonia will remain at the helm for another six months.
Months after letter sparked row, Congress spoke to dissenters
Now, several months after the letter was written, Congress woke from slumber to finally speak to the dissenters. Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Anand Sharma, who had signed the letter reached the 10 Janpath residence of Sonia earlier today. Among other demands, the letter-writers want elections to be held for all the posts within the party.
Tharoor, Chidambaram, Antony, Nath reportedly attended the meeting
Other members of the G-23 group who attended the meeting are Tharoor and Manish Tewari. Noted Congress leaders like Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot, Ambika Soni, AK Antony, P Chidambaram, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Pawan Kumar Bansal, and Harish Rawat, also reached Sonia's home, reports HT. Nath is said to have convinced Sonia to hear the dissenters, a report in NDTV claimed.
Sonia wants to end the crisis soon
A person privy to the recent developments told HT that Sonia wants to end the crisis soon and that she didn't want to sideline the dissenters. "She wants to bring all the warring leaders together and end the current impasse in the party. She wants all the leaders to work in close coordination with Rahul Gandhi in strengthening the party," he said.
Last month, Sibal and Chidambaram expressed concern over party's future
Congress, already jolted by a crisis, got another setback when it performed poorly in the Bihar polls, setting the stage for the defeat of its ally RJD as well. After the results, senior leader Kapil Sibal, another letter-writer, said the party is not an effective alternative anymore. Chidamabaram, seen close to Gandhis, also said the party lacks organizational presence.
Surjewala opines 99.9% of leaders want Rahul as Congress' President
Dismissing the issues, Congress' leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said leaders who think Congress isn't the right party are free to float their own. On Friday, the party's top spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala, claimed 99.9% of leaders want Rahul to become the President again. To recall, the Gandhi scion had quit from the top post after the defeat in the 2019 polls.