• Monday, November 28, 2022

INDIA

India’s opposition Congress leader ready for ‘any sacrifice’

India’s opposition Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi. (Photo by Atul Loke/Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

INDIA’S opposition Congress has unanimously decided that Sonia Gandhi should continue as its president till organisational polls after she expressed readiness to “make any and every sacrifice” in the party’s interest.

The Congress suffered heavy losses in the recently held elections in five states, including in Punjab where the party was defeated by a relatively nascent political outfit – the Aam Aadmi Party.

During its nearly five-hour meeting on Sunday (13), the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s top decision-making body, reposed full faith in her leadership, urging her to effect immediate corrective changes to strengthen the party ahead of the next round of elections.

The party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said every Congress worker and leader wants Gandhi’s son Rahul Gandhi to lead the party but as the process of organisational polls is underway, the next president will be decided through it.

Amid calls for large-scale reforms to revive the party’s dwindling electoral fortunes, the party’s general secretary KC Venugopal, at a press conference after the CWC meeting, said the party president will immediately take corrective measures to revamp and strengthen the organisation.

The Congress will hold a brainstorming session soon after the budget session of Parliament and the CWC will meet again before that, Venugopal said.

The parliamentary session is scheduled to end on April 8.

According to several senior functionaries, Gandhi said she is ready “to make any and every sacrifice as Congress workers and the CWC wish in the interest of the party.”

These comments were seen by many as her readiness to even quit if felt necessary by the party leadership.

She listened to all leaders at the CWC meet and left the decision to the wisdom of the members.

“Every single member of the CWC wants Sonia Gandhi to guide the party till organisational elections are held,” Surjewala said, adding that the new Congress chief will be elected between August 21 and September 20.

The CWC members also said the prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party attacks the Gandhi family only to weaken the Congress.

Gandhi, who took over the reins of the party as interim president, had also offered to quit in August 2020 after strong criticism by a section of leaders, but the CWC had urged her to continue.

Rahul Gandhi had resigned as Congress president after the party suffered its second consecutive defeat in general elections in 2019.

His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra heads the party unit in the country’s most populous state – Uttar Pradesh – where it won just two out of the 403 seats.

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