Amid the countdown to the elections of the Congress party's president, the turbulence over the chief candidate's name still prevailed on Wednesday as sources confirmed that the senior leaders of the party advised Sonia Gandhi who is currently the party supremo, to continue till 2024 if her son and party leader Rahul Gandhi denies running for the post.
The senior leaders also stressed that no one except the Gandhi family can hold the party together, the party will disintegrate and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra should be given command after 2024.
"Sonia Gandhi hinted at the name of Ashok Gehlot, saying that if no one from the Gandhi family is made then Gehlot should be made the president, She also said this to Gehlot in the meeting between the two leaders on Tuesday," said sources.
The tally is still stuck as both Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi are going abroad for their mother Sonia Gandhi's check-up.
In the next few days, the date of the election for the post of President will be announced.
After the refusal of the Gandhi family in the race for the post of president, Ashok Gehlot is the first, followed by Mukul Wasnik, Venugopal, Kumari Selja, Malikarjun Kharge, Bhupesh Baghel and many other names are in discussion.
The Congress party has completed the internal election process till August 20.
The party had announced that the election for the post of president will be held between August 21 and September 20 but despite several attempts, Rahul Gandhi has not cleared the stance till now.
Meanwhile, Congress plans to embark on 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' from Kanyakumari on September 7 under the leadership of party leader Rahul Gandhi and the 148-day march will culminate in Kashmir.
The five-month yatra is scheduled to cover a distance of 3,500 kilometres and more than 12 states.
The padyatra (march) will cover a distance of 25 km every day.
The yatra will include padayatras, rallies, and public meetings which will be attended by the senior Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
The Congress suffered a debacle in the assembly polls held earlier this year and the yatra is seen as an attempt to rally the party rank and file for the upcoming electoral battles.
Meanwhile, sources said Rahul Gandhi will meet civil society people and organizations in Delhi on August 22 to listen to their issues and share their thoughts. Gandhi will also discuss his Bharat Jodo Yatra and its purpose with people from civil society.
Ahead of his Bharat Jodo Yatra starting from Kanyakumari on September 7, Rahul Gandhi will work with civil society to chalk out a strategy for the 2024 general elections.
Gandhi is going to meet organisations and individuals working for different sections of society before his Bharat Jodo Yatra.