New Delhi: The Congress Working Committee meet is underway with the top priority on choosing Rahul Gandhi’s successor as the next party chief. It may be mentioned that Rahul Gandhi had earlier resigned from the post in May while taking moral responsibility for his party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections.
Meanwhile UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, along with Rahul Gandhi made it clear that they will not participate it the consultation process to decide new Congress President. According to Sonia Gandhi their involvement in the process will complicate the issue.
Ahead of the crucial meeting, senior party leaders such as Ahmed Patel, AK Antony, Ashok Gehlot, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Motilal Vora, Mallikarjun Kharge and KC Venugopal held meetings yesterday to discuss various options.
At a meeting of the Congress’s general secretaries, state incharges, state unit chiefs, Congress Legislature Party members and members of Parliament on Friday evening, Rahul Gandhi said: “I have asked Venugopal Ji to widen the consultation process and take a considered decision to select the new Congress president. I have asked him to include all those present here in the deliberations.”
A party functionary said that all the 65 All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretaries have been asked to be present at the party headquarters – the venue of the CWC meeting.
On Friday, the day began with Venugopal meeting Congress parliamentary party (CPP) chairperson Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence in the national capital. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were also present in that meeting, a senior Congress functionary said.
Among the frontrunners for the Congress president’s post is 59 year old Mukul Wasnik. who once headed the Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India (NSUI), and has been a party general secretary for many years now. A four-time Lok Sabha member, Wasnik had also served as a minister in the first term of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
There are several other candidates in the frat but Congress insiders said that the fact that Wasnik is a Dalit, a loyalist, and is expected in matters related to the organization and the government, gives Wasnik an edge.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and senior leaders Karan Singh and Shashi Tharoor have pitched for Priyanka Gandhi but she has nixed the suggestion and echoed Rahul Gandhi’s line that the next Congress president should be someone from outside the Gandhi family.
Apart from heading the Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India (NSUI), Wasnik has been a party general secretary for many years now and he had also served as a minister in the first term of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. He is also a four-time Lok Sabha member.