The top leaders, sources said, would convey to Rahul that he and Sonia Gandhi will have to lead the Congress at this critical juncture as there is no other alternative for the party.
SIGNALLING THAT the uncertainty which is plaguing the Congress over party chief Rahul Gandhi’s insistence to step down has to end sooner than later, top Congress leaders have decided to step in and may propose a ‘collective leadership model’ with him continuing at the helm. Sources said senior leaders may meet Rahul this week to persuade him to continue and find an amicable solution.
The top leaders, sources said, would convey to Rahul that he and Sonia Gandhi will have to lead the Congress at this critical juncture as there is no other alternative for the party. But certain other measures — such as reviving the Parliamentary Board mechanism to make the decision-making process collective and appointing a couple of working presidents to ease pressure on Rahul — can all be explored.
“There is no other option before us. Rahul has to continue. There is no other alternative. That is our collective opinion and we will convey him that. Nobody will accept any another leader as Congress president. Sonia and Rahul are the unifying force in the Congress now. Nobody knows what will happen after 10 or 15 years. But the situation now is that Rahul is the only acceptable face,” a senior leader told The Indian Express.
Sources said top leaders A K Antony and Ahmed Patel may meet Rahul this week as part of the efforts to find a way out. “First he has to accept our view that he should continue. We have had several rounds of informal discussions and we have come to this conclusion. All other proposals like reviving the Parliamentary Board and appointment of working presidents and all can be considered after that,” another top leader said.
The resurrection of the Parliamentary Board mechanism could also address the criticism that key political decisions are at times taken by apolitical advisers. The Congress constitution envisages Parliamentary Board as a key body for “regulating and coordinating the Parliamentary activities of the Legislature Congress parties”. According to the Congress constitution, the Board will be set up by the Congress Working Committee and it will have as its members the Congress president and nine others, including the leader of the Congress party in Parliament.
A senior leader said the “uncertainty could end in the next few days”.
One senior leader said Rahul was “misled” by a handful of people on various aspects, including on setting up of one million booth committees and appointment of 10 trained workers per booth. “The kind of people who got appointed and those who were micro-managing from Delhi… the feeling among the senior leaders is that Rahul trusted them and he was misled….” He said Parliamentary Board is one of the proposals being considered. “It was always an integral part of the Congress… it has always been there till the early 1990s,” he said.
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