Following Congress’ loss in the 2019 General Elections and Rahul Gandhi’s resignation as the party president, the party’s inner circles have been slowly reverberating with the need for strong leadership. Though Sonia Gandhi was appointed Congress president as a stopgap arrangement, the several electoral setbacks following the murmurs slowly gained voice and have become loud.
In August 2020, 23 senior leaders of the Congress party wrote a letter to the interim president Sonia Gandhi, urging her to strengthen the party and address the grave issues it faces. One such demand was elections to the post of Congress president and CWC members. The movement didn’t gain any momentum due to the lack of any leaders with mass appeal amidst the dissenters. The group included senior leaders like Gulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, and two elected MPs — Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tiwari.
Though the letter was seen as dissent, CWC discussed the letter and it was agreed that the demands on the letter should be addressed. Probably considering the merit of the letter, or to pacify the dissenters, Congress accommodated several of the leaders in various committees and promoted a few as well.
The beneficiaries have toned down their attack and they had decided to keep the issue in the back burner for now. However, a few leaders, who were left in dark with uncertainty, are vocal about the demands and are in no mood to relent. Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad are two among them.
Tomorrow’s meeting seems to be very crucial. With Rahul Gandhi once again denying the mantle and Sonia Gandhi’s health weighing her down, the need for a new president seems imminent.
Ashok Gehlot and Kamal Nath are also invitees to the meeting and it appears that a consensus may be arrived at appointing the new Congress president. Gehlot seems to be the front-runner for the post, as he seems to be a consensual candidate among all quarters. However, it is not sure if Gehlot will leave the post of Rajasthan CM to take over as Congress president. Another name, which may be considered, is Kamal Nath who has his clout. Dark horses like Mukul Wasnik or PC Venugopal may spring up too. Either way, the happenings will be interesting to watch.