Amid speculations that Congress Working Committee, party’s top decision-making body, is likely to decide on the new party president, Rahul Gandhi has reportedly intervened and asked for broader consultation before reaching to any conclusion. The Wayanad MP has apparently made it clear that that general secretaries of the Pradesh Congress Committees (PCCs) should also be consulted for picking a name for party’s top post, reported News18. However, he assured that the new chief would be finalised in the next 3-4 days.
Rahul Gandhi also told the leaders that he was happy to note that the party was under pressure to select its new chief and drew an analogy with a tiger, which maintained its ferocity under pressure.
"I am happy that the Congress is under pressure and this will jolt the Congress into action," Gandhi is learnt to have told the party leaders.
The party general secretaries, in-charges and other CWC members have been asked to hold consultations in groups with PCC chiefs, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leaders and departmental heads separately and come out with a consensus as regards the name of the new Congress president, sources said.
Sources said UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, senior party leaders Azad, P Chidambaram, the chief ministers of Rajasthan and Puducherry -- Ashok Gehlot and V Narayanasamy -- were present at the meeting among others.
Earlier in the day, senior Congress leaders met Sonia Gandhi at her residence here, ahead of Saturday's crucial CWC meeting to decide on the new party chief.
Sources said senior leaders Ahmed Patel, AK Antony, and KC Venugopal were learnt to have discussed with Sonia Gandhi certain names of probables, one of whom could be made the provisional president of the party.
The names of senior Congress leaders Mukul Wasnik and Mallikarjun Kharge and some younger leaders are doing the rounds for the top post.
If Wasnik becomes the new Congress chief, it would be the first time in two decades that a non-Gandhi will lead the Grand Old Party. When Rahul Gandhi was asked about his opinion that who should be the new president, he too had said that a non-Gandhi should be given the job. This was the reason Priyanka Gandhi, sister of Rahul Gandhi, also rejected the offer to lead the Grand Old Party.
The Congress is visibly divided on the issue of new Congress chief. While some leaders are of the view that the new president should be from Gandhi family, others batted for a new and younger face.
Some Congressmen also made a call for Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to take over from her brother Rahul Gandhi, who quit as the party chief on May 25 post the Congress's poor show in the Lok Sabha polls.
Milind Deora, who last month resigned as the Mumbai Congress president, said the new party chief should be young and capable and possess electoral, administrative and organisational experience with a pan India appeal, as suggested by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Deora also suggested the names of Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia.
With PTI Inputs