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As Rajasthan Saga Busts Rahul vs Priyanka Theory, Out-of-Time Cong May Finally Have a Leadership Plan


Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi during an election campaign rally ahead of Delhi elections, at Hauz Qazi Chowk in New Delhi on February 5, 2020. (PTI)

The speed with which the party clarified on Priyanka Gandhi’s remark on a non-Gandhi president shows that it does not want the CWC to even think of any other name when it meets next week. Chances are that true to the Congress style, a plan would be worked out where Priyanka would have an important role to play, as would Rahul Gandhi.

  • CNN-News18 New Delhi
  • Last Updated: August 22, 2020, 11:51 AM IST

The Congress Working Committee is expected to meet next week to address the leadership issue amid mounting pressure from party leaders, and warning signs that delaying the decision further can lead to more problems. The CWC is the highest decision-making body in the Congress, and may see some drama on the day.

Rebel Congress leader Sanjay Jha set the cat among the pigeons when he alleged that more than 100 party leaders had written to Sonia Gandhi, seeking organisational polls to decide the next full-time party president. Though the existence of such a letter was denied by the Congress and Sonia Gandhi’s office, the growing restlessness in the party couldn’t be ignored.

The crisis in Rajasthan showed what an ambiguous leadership could lead to. Many felt the issue could have been resolved much sooner had there been clarity on leadership. Sonia Gandhi has been fairly successful in keeping the flock together, but she has made no secret of the fact that she wished to retire and have a new leadership in her place.




It is also a known fact that Sonia isn’t too keen on a non-Gandhi taking charge and would want son Rahul to be the next party president. Her reluctance in picking a non-Gandhi leader over Rahul is one of the reasons why the leadership issue hasn’t been settled yet.

But the inevitable can no longer be put off. The special CWC meeting has now been called to settle the debate once and for all. Officially, the CWC is being called to discuss the current political situation ahead of Parliament session, but the main focus is expected to be on organisational elections and changes.

Till date, Rahul Gandhi remains reluctant in taking the reins again as he feels the reasons he quit in 2019 haven’t changed. But now, he too is under pressure to take charge.

The cues are clear. The team sent to handle the Rajasthan crisis comprised leaders believed to be close to Rahul. The fact that he was reluctant to let go of Sachin Pilot also shows that he doesn’t want the seniors or the old guard to be smug about their indispensability.

More importantly, Rahul and Priyanka worked as a team in defusing the crisis. The signal to the party is clear. Those who spoke of Rahul vs Priyanka will now have to accept the fact that they work as a team, that Priyanka would have an important role to play, as would Rahul.




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The speed with which the party clarified that Priyanka’s remark on a non-Gandhi president was a year old, shows that it does not want the CWC to even think of any other name. Chances are that true to the Congress style, a plan would be worked out.

It’s quite likely that many voices would rise in unison that Rahul Gandhi should be party president. The big question is whether Rahul would agree and, if he does, what would be his terms. What’s clear is that the Congress doesn’t have the luxury of time anymore. Party leaders at least wouldn’t want to give that luxury to the top leadership.


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