India: Uncertainty over Congress' future as Rahul Gandhi remains reluctant about presidency

Sonia Gandhi also hinted at Ashok Gehlot as a possible non-Gandhi president

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Photo: ANI
Photo: ANI


Published: Thu 25 Aug 2022, 1:38 PM

Amid the countdown to the elections for the Congress party's president, turbulence over the chief candidate's name still prevailed on Wednesday, as sources confirmed that the senior leaders of the party had advised Sonia Gandhi — who is currently the party supremo — to continue till 2024, if her son and party leader Rahul Gandhi declined the post.

The senior leaders also stressed that no one — except the Gandhi family — could hold the party together, and that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was to be given command after 2024.

"Sonia Gandhi hinted at the name of Ashok Gehlot, saying that if no one from the Gandhi family is made, then Gehlot should be made the president. She also said this to Gehlot in the meeting between the two leaders on Tuesday," sources said.

The tally is still stuck, as both Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi are going abroad with their mother Sonia Gandhi for medical check-ups.

In the next few days, the date of the elections for the post will be announced.

After the refusal of the Gandhi family in the race for the post of president, Ashok Gehlot is the first, followed by Mukul Wasnik, Venugopal, Kumari Selja, Malikarjun Kharge, Bhupesh Baghel and many other names that are being discussed.

The Congress party has completed the internal election process, and had announced that the election for the post of Congress president would be held between August 21 and September 20, but Rahul Gandhi has not clarified his stance till now.

Meanwhile, Congress plans to embark on a 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' from Kanyakumari on September 7, under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. The 148-day march will culminate in Kashmir. The five-month yatra is scheduled to cover a distance of 3,500km (more than 12 states) in total. It will cover a distance of 25 km every day.

The yatra will include padayatras, rallies, and public meetings which will be attended by the senior Congress elite. The Congress suffered a debacle in the assembly polls held earlier this year and the yatra is seen as an attempt to rally the party rank and file for the upcoming electoral battles.

Meanwhile, sources said Rahul Gandhi will meet civil society people and organisations in Delhi on August 22 to listen to their issues and share their thoughts. He will also discuss his Bharat Jodo Yatra and its purpose with people from civil society.

Ahead of this yatra starting from Kanyakumari on September 7, Rahul Gandhi will work with civil society organisations to chalk out a strategy for the 2024 general elections.


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