New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi is likely to offer her resignation in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, which is scheduled to be held on Monday. Reports have claimed that Sonia is upset after a massive controversy erupted over a letter by 23 veteran party leaders calling for ‘full time’ active leadership, sweeping reforms and raising questions about the party’s condition and direction, as well as demanding the election of the CWC. Also Read - Monsoon Session LIVE: 8 Opposition MPs Suspended From Rajya Sabha For a Week Over Unruly Behaviour in The House
The letter has also divided the Congress party in two factions – Gandhi family loyalists and Congress dissidents. Gandhi family loyalists and Congress Chief Ministers took on the section of leaders who signed the letter and rallied behind the Gandhi family, calling for Sonia to stay or Rahul Gandhi to take charge again. Also Read - In Absence of Sonia And Rahul, Congress Leaders to Meet Tomorrow to Discuss Organisational Issues
Sources have stated that strategy has been chalked out by the loyalists that if the CWC members who said to have written the letter to Sonia Gandhi will debate the issue and express their views then “the reply will be given in the same manner with facts as close members of team Rahul who are in the CWC will offer their resignation in the meet too. Also Read - Farm Bills Row: 'Black Day of Parliamentary Democracy in India,' Says Congress; Rajnath Assures MSP Won't End | Highlights
However, Rahul Gandhi is also adamant on not returning as Congress chief. Similarly, party’s general secretary Priyanka Gandhi is also reluctant to take up the leadership role. In case, if Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka refused to take over reins of the party, it would be the third time that someone from outside Nehru-Gandhi family will lead the Congress after PV Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesri.
Meanwhile, several names have been doing the rounds as possible contenders for the top job in Congress.
Take a look:
Ashok Gehlot: Speculations are rife that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, one of the closest aides of Sonia Gandhi can be the Congress party’s first choice for non-Gandhi chief.
Mallikarjun Kharge: Kharge is also seen as being close to the party high command. He was the Leader of the Congress Party in the 16th Lok Sabha and comes from a politically troubled state of Karnataka.
Shashi Tharoor: Thiruvananthapuram MP and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor is also one of the top contenders to become party chief. However, critics point out that Tharoor may not appeal to people in the hinterland.
Ghulam Nabi Azad: A respected leader and a staunch Congressman can also be party high command’s choice for the top post. However, political analysts suggest that the grand old party may not want to appoint a Muslim party president.