New Delhi: After Rahul Gandhi resigned from the Congress president’s post in 2019, the elections for the key post were put off without electing a full-time president. In a bid to resuscitate the organisation, the party will choose a new leader democratically in September 2022, but according to sources in the party, the leadership will strictly be kept for the Gandhis. To add relevance to it, the chorus for Rahul Gandhi is growing indicating the preparations in the grand old party are being made to get Rahul Gandhi back to the top post, replacing interim president Sonia Gandhi.
Pushing for a Gandhi, many top leaders in the party have reinforced a narrative in favour of Rahul Gandhi by suggesting that he should be the one taking the leadership role as he is the only binding force in the party. The top leaders in the party also believe that in coming times, it will be Rahul Gandhi presiding at the helm. A CWC member said, “If Rahul Gandhi refuses to take up the position, then there will be commotion in the party.”
However, The Sunday Guardian learnt from the top sources that Rahul Gandhi may not contest the elections as he is not prepared to take the position of presidency, and Sonia Gandhi is also not willing to give up the top post to anyone except the Gandhis, which will allow her to stay the president of the party till 2024. The party is also afraid that if a non-Gandhi presides over the top post, there will be a new set of loyalists, which will make Gandhis irrelevant to the party’s future and also reduce their clout in the organisation immensely. The current loyalists of the Gandhi family who are positioned at high places in the party don’t want to be replaced either and thus seek any Gandhi to continue. Chairman of the Congress election committee, Madhusudhan Mistry told The Sunday Guardian, “We will conduct the elections according to the party’s constitution, there is no confirmation as to who will come forward to contest the elections. Whosoever it will be, we will come to know about it on that day, whosoever wants to contest the election will fill the form and simply contest elections.” Meanwhile, there are growing voices outside the Congress claiming Sachin Pilot could be one of the contestants for the top post, but even if he contests for the top post, his victory against the Gandhis is unlikely. If any non-Gandhi contests, experts believe the results will have an analogue to the year 2000. The Congress saw its two leaders stand against Sonia Gandhi for the post of Congress’ top seat, Jitendra Prasada and Rajesh Pilot, but both lost. A Congress official said, “Jitendra Prasada had 94 votes and Rajesh Pilot could only acquire votes less than 30; Gandhi then had triumphed over the non-Gandhis by a very huge margin of 7448 votes.” The top leadership of the party has also faced frequent pressure from the G-23 leaders demanding to conduct the election and choose a permanent leader, as the interim leadership of Sonia Gandhi is considered less inclusive by the G-23 leaders. But apparently, Congress doesn’t seem to be having many options available.