Gandhi or Non-Gandhi president demand develops cracks in the ranks of Congress

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NEW DELHI: Key members of Congress have been seen divided on an issue of party structure, one group is in favour of collective leadership and another wants to bring Rahul Gandhi back, a day ahead of it’s working committee meeting.

According to details, a day ahead of a meeting of Working Committee of Congress, two different voices have been surfaced, developing cracks in the ranks of the party. One section comprising sitting MPs and former ministers have demanded collective leadership, while another group has sought the return of Rahul Gandhi.

One group comprised of two dozen Congress leaders including some ex-ministers, they have addressed a letter to party president Sonia Gandhi for restructuring the organizational setup and introduce some changes to the leadership. Some leaders close to Rahul have also written to the CWC pressing for the Gandhi scion’s return as chief.

CWC is scheduled to meet on Monday, aimed leadership debate. Political analysts are of the view that under such development CWC is expected to be stormy, in view of a letter written by former ministers and some MPs.

These leaders have called for changes in the organization, bringing an old structure as it was in the 1970s. They have demanded decentralisation of power and empowerment of state units besides setting up of the Central Parliamentary Board.

The letter in question has also stressed collective decision-making with the Gandhi family as its integral part. They have asked for the appointment of active and full-time leadership. Workers are assets of the party and they need a timely response.

The pro-reform leaders have been heard asking for free and fair organizational polls from the block up to the working committee level. Some of them have demanded to make Rahul Gandhi the President of Congress, according to them more delay will cause irreparable loss.

A counter to the pro-reform lobby arguing for collective leadership in the Congress has also begun with sitting MP Manickam Tagore calling for Rahul Gandhi’s return as party president.

He added that Gandhis are the symbol of sacrifice. The decision by Congress CWC was a majority decision reflecting the will of 1100 AICC, 8800 PCC members, five crore workers and 12 crore supporters who want Rahul Gandhi as their leader.

He recalled the decision of CWC 2019 to name Sonia Gandhi as party president after Rahul declined to accept a unanimous CWC appeal to stay in the post.

Apart from Tagore, Challa Vamshi Chand Reddy, ex Telangana lawmaker and AICC secretary in charge of Maharashtra has also asked for the promotion of Rahul Gandhi as Congress President without any further delay.

In a letter to the CWC on Sunday, Challa Reddy said any delay in Rahul’s reinstatement would be at the cost of the Congress.

In view of existing conditions any further delay in promoting Rahul Gandhi as AICC president can cause incalculable harm to the progress of Congress Party and can be dispiriting to the Congress family, Reddy said in the letter.

He said, on behalf of millions of Congress workers and sympathizers I would like to take this opportunity to refer to an important pressing matter to the committee. We have been eagerly waiting for this CWC meeting to happen and for a positive decision to be taken to promote Rahul Gandhi as AICC president”.

“This major decision, taken at the earliest possible, can create a launching pad for further creative action and get us all prepared for any eventuality. Rahul Gandhi is the only leader who can animate both seniors and youngsters, unite their energies, direct their vigour and inventiveness to bring the past glory to Congress, he said.

While the younger leaders in the Congress are expected to chalk out a strategy to push for Rahul’s return to the helm, the leaders who earlier petitioned to Sonia Gandhi have called for contacting and winning back all those Congressmen who have quit the party and joined the BJP and expressed concerns over rank and file getting demoralised due to the drift in the party.

They are also learnt to have pointed out that the CWC is not “guiding” the party effectively in mobilizing public opinion against the BJP.

Among leaders learnt to have signed the letter are Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, deputy leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma, former chief ministers Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Prithviraj Chavan and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, besides ex-ministers Mukul Wasnik, Kapil Sibal, M Veerappa Moily, Shashi Tharoor, MP Manish Tewari, and former MPs Milind Deora, Jitin Prasada and Sandeep Dixit.

The signatories are also said to include former party unit chiefs including Raj Babbar, Arvinder Singh Lovely, Kaul Singh Thakur besides leaders Akhilesh Prasad Singh and Kuldeep Sharma.

These leaders argued that in the absence of a direct dialogue with the Congress chief over the strengthening of the party, the revival of the party has become imperative in the interest of democracy in the country.

While most of the leaders who have written the letter did not answer calls on Sunday, some who answered remained tight-lipped on the issue has set the stage for a CWC debate on the need for a Gandhi vis-a-vis a non-Gandhi Congress President.

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