Rahul relents on state elections

Rahul has been extremely rigid all this while, refusing to meet senior leaders to discuss the Congress leadership issue

By Sanjay K. Jha in New Delhi
  • Published 25.06.19, 7:04 AM
  • Updated 25.06.19, 7:04 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Rahul Gandhi outside Parliament on Monday. (PTI)

Rahul Gandhi may meet leaders and general secretaries in charge of election-bound states over the next few days to discuss preparations but that is not an indication of his willingness to continue as Congress president.

Sources said Rahul had yielded to pressure from states like Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand where Assembly elections are barely three months away.

As no new arrangement is in place yet, Rahul has agreed to discuss pressing issues and help them draw the roadmap for the future.

The meeting with the leaders from the poll-bound states is likely to happen on Thursday.

Some leaders, however, see this as a positive sign as Rahul has been extremely rigid all this while, refusing to even meet senior leaders to discuss the leadership issue.

On Tuesday, it would be a month since Rahul had told the Congress Working Committee about his decision to relinquish the top party post.

Rahul has asked the CWC and senior leaders to elect a new president but said his services as an ordinary leader were available wherever the party required.

A small group of leaders has discussed the options among themselves and with Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, but has failed to reach any conclusion.

Most senior leaders, who have been integral to the high command structure for the past two-three decades, expressed total ignorance about the possibilities but hoped that Rahul would change his mind.

While some leaders said there were murmurs about a CWC meeting within the next few days to hammer out a solution, nobody would confirm it. They admitted that Rahul wasn’t involved in the deliberations to create the leadership structure and choose the new party president.

Senior leaders are worried about the sanctity of their decisions as the selection of the new president will have to be ratified by the AICC members who are not in a mood to accept anybody else.

“We know the party workers’ mood. They want Rahul to continue. They will create a hungama at the AICC session if the new president has not been chosen and explicitly endorsed by Rahul,” one leader told The Telegraph.

“What if there is chaos and rejection of the new president? That’s why we say the new structure has to be put in place by the family alone.”

Although the party’s official position is that Rahul continues to be the president as the CWC has rejected his resignation offer, he does not approve the decisions taken in the party now.

Instead of the Congress president, press statements now say: “The AICC has taken the decision…”

This has never happened as press releases issued by the general secretary in charge of the organisation — K.C. Venugopal at present — always began like this: “The Congress president has appointed so & so….”

Even on Monday, the press release said: “The AICC has approved the following proposals submitted by General Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh East & West….”

While no other general secretary is taking any decision, Priyanka, the in-charge for eastern Uttar Pradesh, on Monday decided to dissolve all the district committees in the state.

She set up a two-member team to oversee election preparations and management of upcoming bypolls in the state for each constituency.

Priyanka also decided to set up a three-member committee to examine complaints of gross indiscipline during the Lok Sabha polls.

Congress Legislature Party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu has been appointed in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh till further restructuring is done.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, general secretary in charge of western Uttar Pradesh, will decide the state in-charge for the region later.

The entire Karnataka unit had been dissolved a few days ago.