New Delhi/Aug,11: Sonia Gandhi was on Saturday evening choosen interim Congress president today after her son and incumbent party chief Rahul Gandhi declined to reconsider his May 25 resignation despite the Congress Working Committee unanimously urging him to continue.
Sonia Gandhi will hold the post till a regular party president is elected at the AICC session to be called at a later date. The onus of steering the Congress after its 2019 Lok Sabha debacle again fell on the shoulders of Sonia, now 72 years old. A reluctant Sonia eventually accepted the role after leaders said this was not the time to experiment with leadership.
“Everyone unanimously urged Sonia to accept the role of interim president, citing grave security concerns over Jammu and Kashmir, a sense of discontent across the country and BJP’s onslaught in democracy and dissent. When everyone told Soniaji this was not the time to step back, withdraw or desert the party, and also that hers was the most tried and tested leadership, she accepted the CWC request and agreed to be interim chief,” a CWC member said.
The decision followed extensive deliberations through the day with five CWC sub-groups engaging state party chiefs, CLP leaders, AICC secretaries and MPs on who the next party president should be. The CWC, which first met in the morning, reconvened again late evening to take a decision on the next party chief. At the second meeting, which lasted three hours, all CWC sub-groups reported that the unanimous view was for Rahul to continue as chief.
Rahul joined the evening meeting only after the CWC had accepted his resignation. Sonia and Rahul had recused themselves from the CWC consultation process. Rahul, initially absent from the evening meeting, later joined in on the condition that his resignation would be accepted. He came when told the CWC had to discuss the grave J&K situation.