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'Make Rahul president again' chorus grows louder in Congress

September 19, 2022 20:25 IST

The 'Make Rahul Gandhi All India Congress Committee president again' chorus is growing louder in the Congress with half a dozen state units so far seeking his elevation to the top post, even as uncertainty and suspense persisted over whether he would take on the mantle.

IMAGE: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi participates in the snake boat race exhibition, at Punnamada lake, in Alappuzha on Monday. Photograph: ANI Photo

After Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat units of the Congress urged that Gandhi be made the party chief, the Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Bihar units also passed resolutions on Monday.

This comes days after the party said the Pradesh Congress Committee delegates would pass resolutions authorising the incoming Congress president to appoint state chiefs and AICC delegates.

Along with the resolution on appointing state chiefs and AICC delegates, the state units are, one after another, also passing resolutions seeking Gandhi's elevation to the top post.

It started with Congress units in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the only two states where the party is in government on its own.

Also, the Gujarat Congress on Sunday demanded that Rahul Gandhi be made the party's national president.

The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee on Monday adopted a unanimous resolution urging Rahul Gandhi to lead the party 'for the victory of secular, democratic forces' in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

At the party's state general council meeting held in Chennai, a resolution proposed by Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President K S Alagiri, seeking Rahul Gandhi to assume the office of AICC president was passed unanimously.

Bihar Congress and Maharashtra Congress also passed such resolutions.

While some political analysts see the passing of such resolutions as an initiative to reaffirm loyalty to the Gandhi family, others see it as a genuine attempt to convince Rahul Gandhi to take on the party reins.

Similar resolutions were passed in 2017 before Rahul Gandhi was elevated as the Congress president.

He, however, stepped down in 2019 after the party's debacle in the Lok Sabha elections.

Amid hectic efforts and appeals to convince him again take charge as the party president, Gandhi said earlier in September that he had made his decision on whether he would take up the party presidency but did not divulge his plans.

He even asserted that he would give his reasons if he did not contest the upcoming election for the post.

Gandhi's remarks were seen by many in the party as an indication that he might stick to his earlier stance of not taking up the party chief's post.

With his cryptic remarks, the suspense over who would be the next president of the grand old party has intensified.

Asked if he would become the Congress president, he had said, "Whether I become president or not, this will become very clear when the presidential elections of the Congress party take place."

"Wait till that time and when that time comes, you will see, and if I don't stand, you can ask me then 'why didn't you stand' and I will answer the question for you," Gandhi had told reporters at a press conference in Kanyakumari.

He, however, had asserted that he had 'very clearly' decided what he was going to do.

"There is no confusion in my mind at all."

In case Rahul Gandhi does not contest, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was being seen as a front-runner, while senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is among the G-23 leaders, was also contemplating running for the post of party president.

Adding to the buzz over the possibility of his contesting Congress president polls, Tharoor on Monday endorsed a petition by a group of young party members seeking "constructive reforms" and met AICC chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.

The petition shared by Tharoor on Twitter sought reforms and a pledge by AICC president candidates to implement the Udaipur Declaration in its entirety if elected.

The former Union minister said it had been signed by over 650 people so far.

'I welcome this petition that is being circulated by a group of young @INCIndia members, seeking constructive reforms in the Party. It has gathered over 650 signatures so far. I am happy to endorse it & to go beyond it,' Tharoor tweeted with screenshots of the petition.

Several senior Congress leaders have also emphasised that even if Gandhi did not become the party president, the Gandhi family would hold a position of pre-eminence in the party.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday favoured a consensus for the post of the AICC chief.

He asserted that Rahul Gandhi would always have a 'pre-eminent place' in the party irrespective of whether he was the president or not as he was the 'acknowledged leader' of the rank and file.

Senior party leader Jairam Ramesh has also batted for a 'consensus' in selecting the new AICC chief and sought to uphold the 'prominence' of the Nehru-Gandhi family in organisational matters in any sort of emerging situation.

The notification for the Congress president's election will be out on September 22 and the process for filing nominations will be held from September 24 to 30.

The last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8 and the election, if required, will be held on October 17.

The results will be out on October 19.

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