Sonia Gandhi to continue as Congress interim president
New Delhi: After the highly-pitched drama that unfolded at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting with a furious Rahul Gandhi questioning the timing of a letter targeting the Gandhi leadership, it has been decided that Sonia Gandhi will remain the Congress's interim president for now and the party will hold an AICC session within six months to select a "full time" president of the Grand Old party.
At the crucial party's CWC meeting that lasted for over 7 hours, Sonia Gandhi reportedly said in her closing remarks that she held "no ill-will" towards anyone in the party, a remark intended at the dissent-letter writers.
"I am hurt but they are my colleagues, bygones are bygones, let us work together," she said, ending the CWC meeting on a note of conciliation.
Notably, Millennium Post had reported that there would be no change of guard and Sonia Gandhi would continue till the party gets full-time chief.
As the CWC meeting started at 11 am, unverified reports started coming out that Rahul Gandhi has slammed senior leaders for writing dissent letter to the party chief and alleged that signatories were colluding with BJP. It created such a great confusion among the leaders that on the basis of those unverified reports, former union ministers Kapil Sibal and Gulam Nabi Azad tweeted about offering to quit the party if the charges against them proven right, which was later withdrawn by both the leaders by saying that Rahul Gandhi had never made any such statement during the CWC meeting.
Briefing about the CWC meeting, party's general secretary KC Venugopal said, "Noting that internal party issues cannot be deliberated through the media or public fora, the CWC has urged and advised all concerned to raise such issues only in party fora."
"The CWC has agreed to strengthen the hands of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi," Venugopal said, adding, "The CWC makes it clear that no one will be or can be permitted to undermine or weaken the party and its leadership at this juncture. The responsibility of every Congress worker and leader is to fight the pernicious assault on India's democracy, pluralism and diversity by the Modi government."
In reply to a question on "dissent" letter written by senior party leaders, party's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "Sonia Gandhi said that we are a large family, we have differences and opinions over several issues, but in the end, we unite as one."
"The party's chief also said that the need of the hour is to tackle issues facing the country. Organisational issues, the process of constitution or reconstitution are a continuous process," Surjewala added.
Commenting on the letter-bomb, Surjewala said, "We don't need to look back after this unanimous resolution. The signatories to the letter were present at the CWC meet and all decisions have been made taking their consent into account."
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who spoke after Gandhi, urged her to continue, so did former Defence Minister AK Antony, with both the veterans criticising the letter by some party leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik, who are the part of the party's highest decision-making body.
As per the party insiders, Sonia Gandhi also handed over a detailed reply to Venugopal, who read out its contents at the CWC meeting in which Gandhi sought to be relieved from the post. Rahul Gandhi in his speech questioned the timing of the letter, which was sent to Sonia Gandhi when she was hospitalised and under medication.