NEW DELHI: The CWC resolution promising an AICC session as soon as “circumstances permit” and the chorus during the deliberations that Rahul Gandhi resume the mantle of president reflects a growing sense of urgency in the party over the need for the leader to end the ambiguity over his plans.
The crisis due to the extraordinary letter written by a group of 23 leaders has put the ball squarely in Rahul’s court as the year since Sonia Gandhi was elected ‘interim president’ has only deepened faultlines and failed to stem organisational drift, seen as a factor in the loss of Madhya Pradesh followed by a close shave in Rajasthan.
Rahul’s decision to quit in the wake of a second Lok Sabha debacle has been gnawing Congress’s cadre, given the uncertainty it created. G-23’s dissent may well be the catalyst in forcing action, feel sources who were part of the CWC meeting. They added that that a vacuum at the top was no longer acceptable.
Rahul has all along appeared serious about not retaking the reins, which he left saying that the next chief should be a non-Gandhi. Now, senior Congress functionaries point out that continued reluctance will only invite more troubles. “It cannot be that Sonia Gandhi is not in a position or does not want to continue, Rahul does not make up his mind and no other person is appointed either,” said a functionary.
Oddly enough, both dissenters and loyalists agree on this, though with differing answers as the pro-Gandhi camp feels a letter of mutiny was not called for given Sonia’s long contribution in leading Congress. A day after the CWC meeting, the chatter was about Rahul’s decision.
Partymen are making much of the fact that while the meeting on Monday saw every CWC member urge Rahul to take charge, the latter did not demur. While it was not seen as an affirmative gesture, it raised optimism among members exasperated at the ad-hoc leadership.
Rahul confidants expressed confidence that he will take back the presidency in the next three-four months. “We are sure of it happening now,” a loyalist said.
Given the way that the controversy triggered by the dissent letter unfolded, Congress members feel it was difficult to imagine any other outcome for the leadership position. Some key senior members were still doubtful of the possibility and they discussed one chief minister in particular as a possible option. Another junior CM is also being talked about.
“It is all up in the air till it is announced. But the fact is that the onus of settling the issue now rests with Rahul Gandhi,” a party veteran said. The appeal to Rahul was strong and those who made it included Ashok Gehlot, Amarinder Singh, Bhupesh Baghel, Ajay Maken, Ambika Soni, R C Khuntia, Harish Rawat and Asha Kumari.