Congress party president Sonia Gandhi is likely to offer her resignation from her post in the today's CWC meeting, scheduled to be held at 11 am. A letter reportedly sent to the party leadership and signed by top Congressmen and Congresswomen, including former union ministers, ex-chief ministers, sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) prompted the 73-year-old party's interim chief to make this decision.
The letter is thought to have urged the top leadership to bring about change in the organisational structure. However, it also stressed that the Nehru-Gandhi family will "always remain an integral part of the collective leadership" of the Congress party.
After details of the letter became public, sources close to Sonia Gandhi said that in response, she might quit as party's interim chief and ask the leadership to scout for a full-time president. Soon after, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala denied reports and claimed that Sonia Gandhi has not communicated any such decision to him.
While Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, his counterparts in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan Bhupesh Baghel and Ashok Gehlot, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and former ministers Ashwani Kumar, Salman Khurshid and KK Tewary backed the Gandhis, those wanting changes included Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Mukul Wasnik, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor and ex-Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Sonia Gandhi is the longest-serving Congress party president from 1998-2017. She has been the interim president of the party since 2019. Sonia reluctantly took over as interim chief on August 10 last year following a request from the CWC after her son Rahul Gandhi declined to stay in a chief post the 2019 Lok Sabha poll debacle.
All eyes are now on the CWC meeting to see whether Sonia Gandhi resigns as she did in 1999 after the then Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sharad Pawar questioned her foreign origins. The CWC eventually rejected the resignation and Pawar along with P A Sangma and Tariq Anwar had to quit the Congress to form the NCP.
Congress leaders backing Sonia Gandhi
1. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was one of the first leaders who came out in support of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. "Sonia Gandhi should continue to helm the Congress as long as she wants," he said in a statement, adding that Rahul Gandhi should thereafter take over as he is fully competent to lead the party.
2. Bhupesh Baghel, chief minister of Chhattisgarh who defeated one of the BJP's longest-serving chief ministers- Raman Singh wrote, "For every challenge, Sonia Ji and Rahul Ji are the beacons of light. We are all with you. Congress workers in Chhattisgarh and crores from across the country along with citizens are with you".
"The troubled times our country is going through, only your guidance will get rid of those troubles," Baghel added.
हर चुनौती में हमारे लिए उम्मीद की किरण माननीय सोनिया जी और आदरणीय राहुल जी हैं। हम सभी आपके साथ हैं। छत्तीसगढ़ और देश के करोड़ों कार्यकर्ता और देशवासी आपके साथ हैं।— Bhupesh Baghel (@bhupeshbaghel) August 23, 2020
देश जिस संकटपूर्ण दौर से गुज़र रहा है उससे आपके नेतृत्व में ही छुटकारा मिलेगा। pic.twitter.com/kBjdSK5sgU
3. V Narayanasamy, chief minister of Puducherry also echoed a similar sentiment. He wrote on Twitter saying "Saw the news in some newspapers that ex congressmen wanted to overhaul and changes in congress party. This kind of statement will create confusion in the minds of millions of congressmen This a ploy by BJP to divert the attention of people from Facebook controversy".
I saw the news in some newspapers that ex congressmen wanted overhaul and changes in congress party This kind of statement will create confusion in the minds of millions of congress men This a ploy by BJP to divert attention of people from facebook controversy— V.Narayanasamy (@VNarayanasami) August 23, 2020
4. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot termed the letter as unfortunate and said the Gandhi family has kept the party united. "I am not aware of any such letter but if this is true, then it is unfortunate. They all have worked with the party for so long and the move of the letter is uncalled for," Gehlot said.
News of 23 senior most Congress leaders writing letter to Hon’ble CP is unbelievable and if it is true - it’s very unfortunate was no need to go in media I strongly believe that Hon’ble CP Smt Sonia Gandhi ji should continue to lead the party at this crucial juncture— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) August 23, 2020
where the fight is to save the ethos of our Democracy. She has always taken challenges head on. But if she has made up her mind -I believe @RahulGandhi should come ahead and be the Congress President as country faces the biggest challenge to save our Constitution -Democracy.— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) August 23, 2020
Rahul if not Sonia, say Congress other leaders
Some Congress leaders are pressing for the Gandhi scion's return as chief.
Harish Rawat, former Uttarakhand chief minister also said in a Facebook post on Sunday, "Sonia Gandhi Ji has always lifted Congress from difficulties and even today, party workers have faith that under her guidance, we will emerge as the single largest party again," adding, "Rahul Gandhi is such a leader who is able to lead the country for decades to come."
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath said any suggestion or insinuation that Sonia Gandhi's leadership is in question is absurd. The party's Rajya Sabha MP and himself former MP CM, Digvijaya Singh added, "If Sonia Ji wants to leave the post of party president, then Rahul Ji should leave his stubbornness and accept the post of party president."
I have had the privilege of working with Sanjay Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. I have also had the privilege of serving the Congress Party as a Member of Parliament for almost 40 years and as the longest serving Member of Parliament.— Office Of Kamal Nath (@OfficeOfKNath) August 23, 2020
Any suggestion or insinuation that Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s leadership is in question is absurd.— Office Of Kamal Nath (@OfficeOfKNath) August 23, 2020
I appeal to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi to give strength to the Congress Party by continuing as President and lead the Congress.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tweeted, "I am confident that RahulGandhi, under the guidance of Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders, will successfully lead Indian National Congress party. Even our party workers feel the same".
I am confident that Shri. @RahulGandhi, under the guidance of Smt. Sonia Gandhi & other senior leaders, will successfully lead Indian National Congress party. Even our party workers feel the same.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) August 23, 2020
We strongly feel that Shri. @RahulGandhi should take charge as AICC President in the interest of our country.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) August 23, 2020
His leadership will rejuvenate Congress, energize party workers & reassure the people of our country.
AICC secretary for Maharashtra Challa Vamshi Chand Reddy said any delay in Rahul Gandhi's reinstatement would be at the cost of the Congress.
Lok Sabha MP Manickam Tagore too demanded Rahul Gandhi's return as Congress president.
The Delhi unit of the Congress also held an "emergency" meeting presided by its chief Anil Kumar and passed a resolution demanding that Rahul Gandhi be appointed as the party's national president without further delay, a statement said.
Haryana PCC chief Kumari Selja also wrote a letter in support of Sonia Gandhi in which she wrote, "The sacrifices Gandhi-Nehru family has made for India, the country will forever be indebted. Today, the country needs your and Rahul Gandhi Ji's guidance the most".
कांग्रेस पार्टी ने अनेक संकटों को अपने संघर्ष से परास्त किया है। आज जब देश की लोकतांत्रिक और संवैधानिक व्यवस्था खतरे में है, ऐसे वक्त में आदरणीय श्रीमती सोनिया गांधी जी और श्री @RahulGandhi जी का ओजस्वी नेतृत्व ही समस्त देशवासियों और असंख्य @INCIndia कार्यकर्ताओं का बल है।— Kumari Selja (@kumari_selja) August 23, 2020
Sachin Pilot wrote "Mrs Gandhi and Rahul Ji have shown what it means to sacrifice for the greater good of the people and the party. It's now time to build consensus and consolidate. Our future is stronger when we're united. Most Congress workers would like to see Rahul Ji take over and lead the party".
Mrs Gandhi and Rahul ji have shown what it means to sacrifice for the greater good of the people and the party.Its now time to build consensus and consolidate.— Sachin Pilot (@SachinPilot) August 23, 2020
Our future is stronger when we’re united. Most Congress workers would like to see Rahul ji take over and lead the party
Patidar leader Hardik Patel issued a call for "MyLeaderRahulGandhi". In a tweet on Sunday, Patel said, "The guidance of Rahul Gandhi is very important for the reconstruction of India and the strength of the Congress party. The nation trusts Rahul Gandhi who advocates brotherhood and not hatred, works with a sense of change and not revenge."
भारत के नवनिर्माण और कांग्रेस पार्टी की मज़बूती के लिए श्री राहुल गांधी का नेतृत्व बेहद ज़रूरी हैं। श्री राहुल गांधी पर देश भरोसा करता है, राहुल गांधी नफ़रत को नहीं भाईचारे को बढ़ावा देते है, बदले की भावना से नहीं बदलाव की भावना से काम करते हैं।— Hardik Patel (@HardikPatel_) August 23, 2020
जी हाँ #MyLeaderRahulGandhi
KS Alagiri, chief of Tamil Nadu PCC also joined in the chorus. He said in a tweet, "Mother Sonia Ji's leadership should continue. She is the binding force of the nation in south, north, west and east. Rahul Ji and Sonia Ji are followed by millions of Congress party cadres and people of the nation."
Shashi Tharoor put out a cryptic tweet quoting Jawaharlal Nehru that said we have become prisoners of the past.
"Without passion and urge, there is a gradual oozing out of hope and vitality, a settling down on lower levels of existence, a slow merging into non-existence. We have become prisoners of the past and some part of its immobility sticks to us," he tweeted.
'Without passion and urge, there is a gradual oozing out of hope and vitality, a settling down on lower levels of existence, a slow merging into non-existence. We have become prisoners of the past and some part of its immobility sticks to us'.