CWC meeting: Rahul, Sonia Gandhi exit, say won’t participate in picking new Congress chief

During the CWC meeting, it was also decided that Congress chief ministers, state presidents and party office bearers would be consulted before a new president was chosen.

Former Congress presidents Rahul and Sonia Gandhi Saturday said they would not take part in the process of nominating the next party chief. At a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi today, the leaders said they could not be part of the consultations as they have served as heads of the party in the past.

During the CWC meeting, it was also decided that Congress chief ministers, state presidents and party office bearers would be consulted before a new president was chosen. The CWC was divided into five groups of leaders, each representing a different region — North East, North, South, East and West — to hold deliberations on the selection of the Congress chief. Follow live updates on the CWC meeting

Rahul and Sonia’s names were included in the East and West regions, respectively. However, the duo left the meeting midway around 1 pm. According to news agency PTI, Sonia said she was included in the committees by default.

Following the deliberations, the CWC members are expected to reconvene at 8.30 pm tonight, and a name for the post of party president may be finalised today. Mukul Wasnik and Mallikarjun Kharge had initially emerged as frontrunners for the post of party president. However, with consultations being opened to state leaders, there is an element of uncertainty.

Congress leader and party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, speaking to reporters, said Rahul’s resignation as Congress chief was still under consideration, and that the CWC would likely take a decision on it this evening.

On the eve of the meeting, Rahul had asked that all regional leaders be included in the process of picking his successor. The move is seen as an attempt to ensure that the well-entrenched and powerful Delhi CWC clique does not manage to push a name of their choice. Rahul, sources told The Indian Express, indulged in “plain speaking”, and said “leaders can slide away” but the party will not compromise on principles.

Also read | Congress party and its presidents: Past and present

Rahul resigned as president of the party on May 25, after the Congress suffered a massive defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. Taking responsibility for the party’s loss, Rahul said “accountability” was critical for the future growth of the party. The party has been without a chief since then.

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