India

Congress MPs urge Rahul Gandhi to take back charge as party chief

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi with party leaders after being detained by police during a protest over price rise, unemployment and GST hike on essential items, at New Police Lines in New Delhi on Friday.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi with party leaders after being detained by police during a protest over price rise, unemployment and GST hike on essential items, at New Police Lines in New Delhi on Friday. | Photo Credit: PTI

In two weeks, the Congress could notify the final schedule to elect a new party chief but there is still no clarity on whether or not former party chief Rahul Gandhi will accept the demands of his colleagues to take back the reins of the party.

The leadership issue was intensely discussed on Friday, when 60-odd MPs including Mr. Gandhi were detained at Kingsway Camp police lines for Congress’ protests against price rise and unemployment.

Several MP colleagues asked the former party chief to lead the charge against the Narendra Modi government by becoming party chief again.

One of the MPs, who was present told The Hindu that Mr. Gandhi argued that “he didn’t have to become the party president to oppose Modi government’s policies”.

At least, four MPs are said to have countered him by putting up arguments as to why he needs to accept the top party post.

Inconclusive argument

“It seemed an inconclusive argument but it was clear that Rahul ji wanted clear positions on every issue and not be vague about some,” the above-cited source said

Earlier that day, while addressing a press conference, Mr. Gandhi sidestepped the leadership question by telling reporters that the media briefing was on price rise and unemployment and he would “not allow it to be distracted”.

But the Congress seems to be racing against time. As per an earlier Congress Working Committee-approved (CWC) election schedule, the final leg of the party’s internal polls are slated between August 20 and September 20.

The electoral college, made by about 9000 All India Congress Committee (AICC) delegates, is almost ready, with only a few States like Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, wrapping up their internal poll exercise. Pradesh Congress Committees (PCCs) have also completed their block-level and district-level elections.

Mr. Madhusudan Mistry, who heads the Central Election Authority (CEA) that is tasked with holding the internal polls, says,”We are almost ready and will go according to the schedule that the CWC has already approved.

Along with the internal polls, the Congress followed up on the Udaipur Declaration made in mid-May like setting up a political affairs committee in every State, filling up vacant party posts and most importantly, work out the logistics for the Bharat Jodo (unite India) yatra.

Originally scheduled to start on October 2, the yatra could be advanced now. A panel of senior leaders, headed by Mr. Digvijaya Singh, is giving final shape to Bharat Jodo yatra that will begin from Kanyakumari and end in Jammu & Kashmir.

Though the finer details are still being worked out and the party is yet to make them public, the yatra plans to cover about 3500 kms in nearly 150 days.


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 2:09:56 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-mps-ask-rahul-gandhi-to-take-reins-as-party-chief/article65741619.ece