Congress | National

Sonia Gandhi reaches out to G-23 leaders

Congress president Sonia Gandhi chairs the Congress Working Committee meeting in New Delhi on March 13, 2022.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi chairs the Congress Working Committee meeting in New Delhi on March 13, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Days after meeting G-23 leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress president Sonia Gandhi reached out to other members of the group by meeting Anand Sharma, Manish Tewari and Vivek Tankha on Tuesday.

Two other G-23 leaders, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, are said to have been invited but couldn’t attend as they were not in Delhi. More meetings are likely in the future.

G-23 refers to the ginger group that has been pushing for a collective and inclusive leadership at levels of decision-making in the party since August 2020, when they wrote a letter to Ms. Gandhi to press for sweeping changes.

There was no official word on what transpired at Tuesday’s meeting but the Congress chief is said to have referred to the issues raised by the G-23 leaders as well as the counter view held by the Gandhi family loyalists. She is said to have stressed on the need to move forward by resolving the internal differences.

G-23 leaders have been pushing for an elected Congress Working Committee, reconstitution of the Central Election Committee, reviving Congress Parliamentary Board and building a platform to forge ties with like-minded Opposition parties.

Following the party’s decimation in the recently concluded Assembly elections in the five States, the group reached out to several leaders who have been pushing for reforms and met at Mr Azad’s Delhi residence on March 16.

“We believe that the only way forward for the Congress is to adopt a model of collective and inclusive leadership and decision making at all levels,” the G-23 leaders had said in a joint statement after the meeting.

The attempt to reconcile the public differences gained momentum since then, with Ms Gandhi meeting Mr Azad while former party chief Rahul Gandhi reaching out to Mr Hooda.

Even if all the leaders are united in their objective of reviving the Congress party, the G-23 isn’t a homogeneous group. At one end is Kapil Sibal, who has made it clear that Gandhis should step aside in order to revive the party; at the other end are leaders, who are pushing for collective decision making through a body like the parliamentary party for policy making.

There is specualtion that Ms Gandhi is likey lto accommodate some of the G-23 leaders either in important organisational positions or offer Rajya Sabha berths from States where the Congress can manage to win.

Apart from core G-23 leaders like Mr Azad, Mr Sharma, Mr Tewari, Mr Hooda and Mr. Sibal, the March 16 meet also included new names like one time Gandhi family loyalist, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Lok Sabha member Preneet Kaur, former Gujarat Chief Minister Shankar Singh Vaghela and former Haryana Speaker Kuldeep Sharma.

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Printable version | Mar 23, 2022 10:43:41 am |