Published: Mon, August 12, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Sonia Gandhi returns to lead India's beleaguered Congress party

Sonia Gandhi returns to lead India's beleaguered Congress party

The committee wanted Rahul Gandhi to continue as its president but after he refused, they asked his mother to take over the reins instead, and she accepted, the statement said.

In January, Rahul Gandhi inducted Vadra, 47, into politics as a party general secretary months before the elections.

Sonia Gandhi is one of the most influential leaders of the Congress party and is credited with having brought the party back from the brink in 2004 with a surprise victory over the incumbent central government.

The post of Congress President had fallen vacant after Rahul Gandhi resigned following a humiliating defeat of his party in this year's Lok Sabha polls.

"We can not be part of this process", Sonia Gandhi said after she recused herself from the deliberations.

The decision was taken after day long deliberations and speculations, as the Congress Working Committee (CWC) met to choose a new party president.

The party was divided over his departure, with many asking him to stay on, fearing more desertions and infighting if a non-Gandhi took charge.

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The senior BJP leader also highlighted the need for Congress to select a leader through a "democratic process".

Rahul Gandhi offered to resign from the top post taking moral responsibility of the party's virtual washout in the Lok Sabha battle.

A crucial meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which is the party's top decision-making body, is now underway for a second time in a day on Saturday to take a call on who would succeed Rahul Gandhi as the party chief.

India's main opposition Congress party has selected former president Sonia Gandhi as its interim leader while it searches for a successor to her son Rahul Gandhi, who quit following a second straight election drubbing by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He would later visit some rain-hit places in neighbouring Mallapuram district three assembly segments of which form part of Wayanad constituency, party sources said. "But he is adamant on his decision, so a group has been formed for consultation with the party leaders to decide on the new chief", Surjewala said. With elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana coming up, the party is hoping to resolve the leadership issue quickly and move forward.

It said that Rahul's gave the Congress "a new sense of aggression and modernity to the party organization and opened up numerous opportunities to the younger generation".

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