New Delhi: Election for the post of Congress president is likely to be deferred till next year under the prevailing circumstances, ostensibly resulting from the outbreak of corona again. Earlier, the president election was scheduled for last week of May either in Rajasthan or Delhi. But now Congress leaders and workers will have to wait longer for a new full-time president to take charge.
A section of Congress wanted the presidential election to be held after UP polls next year. At the same time, the Congress is keenly waiting for results of five Assembly elections, particularly Assam and Kerala where it has some hopes. There is no clear report about the states barring Tamil Nadu, with Congress leadership keeping its fingers crossed. So, the scene will be clear only on 2 May. If Kerala and Assam results favour Congress, then party leaders will step up pressure for Rahul Gandhi to be given the president post, attributing the positive Assembly results to him only. Sources say that Rahul Gandhi would show his reluctance to accept the post.
Congress is hopeful of a positive result in Assam. That is the reason why it has started sending its ally AIUDF’s candidates to Jaipur to block possible poaching after the results. Congress had formed the same strategy for Bihar but the poll results were not in its favour out there. Congress has been facing electoral defeats for a long time now, with Rahul Gandhi behind all the strategies. Rahul Gandhi had taken over the reins of the party in 2017, but left the post after the 2019 Lok Sabha poll defeat. Since then, the Congress is without any full time president. Sonia Gandhi continues to be the interim chief of the party. As a result of all this, voices of dissent also figured in the Congress. The group of 23 dissenters (G-23) under the leadership of Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed resentment over the state of affairs in Congress. In view of this, Sonia Gandhi held a meeting and decided that the new president will be elected in May 2021. But the problem within the party continues to be the same. The leadership is said to have decided not to give importance to G-23 leaders any more.
Meanwhile, there is speculation that Azad may be given Rajya Sabha membership as a nominated member at the instance of PM Narendra Modi. So, it is clear that results of five state polls will determine the political course of Congress. If results are disappointing for the Congress, the presidential election will be postponed, citing coronavirus. Then, efforts will be to have an election for president by the end of next year. By then, five years after the election of president will have completed as per the Congress’ constitution. Moreover, elections in the states such as Punjab, Uttarakhand and UP will also have been over by then. The party will then be able to assess the performance of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s performance in UP.