Congress in search of successor as Rahul insists on stepping down: Reports

New Delhi: Reeling under the impact of devastating loss at 2019 elections there seems to be no dearth of problems for Congress. While Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been adamant regarding stepping down, the party is likely on a look for Rahul’s successor.

The stage seems to be set for a likely meeting of the party’s highest decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), in the next four days.

Reportedly, Rahul is said to have told the party he will continue until a suitable successor is found. Some in the party interpreted this as a sign that he may relent. Others said finding a successor is not easy given the sense of deep distrust among senior leaders.

As Rahul stays firm in his stand, many state Congress presidents either resigned or offered to quit to allow him to undertake a restructuring of the party. The resignations are seen as an attempt to persuade Gandhi to change his mind.

While Odisha PCC chief Niranjan Patnaik, Jharkhand’s Ajoy Kumar resigned, Punjab’s Sunil Jakhar, Assam’s Ripun Bora and Maharashtra’s Ashok Chavan offered to step down. AICC treasurer Ahmed Patel and party general secretary in charge of organisation K C Venugopal met Gandhi Monday and the impression these leaders got was that he is in no mood to relent. In fact, sources said he has asked them to look for his successor. Gandhi, a source said, was open to taking over as the leader of the Congress in Parliament and then focus exclusively on rebuilding the party.

Multiple reports also suggest that senior leaders in the party including Rahul’s mother Sonia Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, party treasurer Ahmed Patel and general secretary K. C. Venugopal have been in talks with him to convince him to retract his resignation.

Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala issued a statement asking the media to respect the sanctity of a closed-door meeting of the CWC. It was, however, silent on Gandhi’s specific comments about Gehlot or his supposed resignation.

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