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Sonia stays Cong prez, says 'ready to make changes to revamp party'

Sonia stays Cong prez, says ready to make changes to revamp party

New Delhi: The members of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which is the party's top decision-making body, in its crucial meeting held on Sunday to discuss the poll debacle in five states reaffirmed faith in party president Sonia Gandhi's leadership.

At the CWC meeting, which lasted for over 5 hours, it was also decided that the party would continue to be guided by former party chief Rahul Gandhi and General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

As per party insiders, 'emotionally charged' Sonia Gandhi offered to resign along with Rahul and Priyanka. Despite 'heated' discussion among members over fixing responsibility for the worst-ever performance of the Grand Old Party in the recently concluded Assembly elections in five states, the members reposed faith in her decisions.

The meeting took place at the backdrop of sloganeering by hundreds of party workers in favour of the Gandhis outside the party headquarters office amidst the arrival of participants of the CWC including the infamous group of disgruntled seniors called as G23.

In contrary to the anticipation of some "path-breaking" decisions to be taken at the crucial CWC meet, no immediate decisions were taken and the leadership decided to convene another round of CWC and then Chintan Shivir just after the end of the second part of the Budget Session of the Parliament in April third week.

The CWC has authorised Sonia Gandhi to take all required steps to revamp the organisation but there was no outcome on the preponement of the organisational elections, which is scheduled in September this year.

Reportedly, soon after the announcement of the verdict of the Assembly elections, in which the party was completely trounced, the appointment of a full-time president and organisational overhaul gained momentum.

Apart from former prime minister Manmohan Singh and former defence minister AK Antony, all members of the CWC attended the meeting, which was held to discuss the party's worst-ever performance in the Assembly elections in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa and Punjab. The CWC meeting was chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. As per party leaders, during the meeting, Sonia Gandhi listened to all leaders and said that she is willing to make the required changes to revamp the party.

Other members who attended the meet includes KC Venugopal, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, party's leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and P Chidambaram,...while A Chellakumar, Lal Thanwala, Manipur MP Gaikhangam Ganmei, and G Sanjeeva Reddy, INTUC chief, didn't attend the meet.

The Gandhi scions -- Rahul and Priyanka – were also present at the meeting for the entire duration. G23 members Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, and Mukul Wasnik, who had their separate meeting on Friday, demanded an urgent roadmap for the revival of the party.

However, the sources said that Azad also questioned the crackdown party's veteran Captain Amarinder Singh and initial 'feelers' to Harish Rawat in Uttarakhand.

While talking to reporters after the meeting, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said, "The Congress interim president Sonia will lead us and will take future steps. We all have faith in her leadership."

"Every single member of the CWC wants Sonia Gandhi to guide party till organisational elections are held," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said after the CWC to brief the media.

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, who attended the meeting, also defended the Gandhis before going in and said that Rahul was the sole campaigner against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Congress has lost Punjab to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), while failed to wrest Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur from the BJP and the party's tally in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh fell to its lowest at two from seven seats in 2017.

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