24 Aug 2020: Sonia remains Congress chief; election of successor in 6 months
The seven-hour long meeting of the Congress Working Committee has come to an end. During the meeting, it was decided that Sonia Gandhi will continue to serve as the interim President of the Indian National Congress (INC).
A new chief will be elected within a period of six months, sources cited by news agency ANI said on Monday.
Here are more details.
Details: Election to take place as soon as possible: CWC member
ANI quoted Congress leader and CWC member KH Muniyappa as saying, "Madam (Sonia Gandhi) has to continue and the election will take place as soon as possible which is the unanimous decision of the working committee."
The party's Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mukul Wasnik, and Anand Sharma have given in writing that there is no dispute in the party leadership, Muniyappa added.
Fact: 'CWC members have faith in Sonia and Rahul Gandhi'
CWC member PL Punia said the fellow members had expressed faith in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, the former party chief. Reportedly, a committee will be formed to help Sonia Gandhi in day-to-day functioning.
Context: Sonia offered to resign after senior leaders questioned her management
The Congress party's leadership had been brought into question after over 20 senior party leaders had written a letter to Sonia Gandhi seeking sweeping changes.
The letter signatories included party heavyweights such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, and Shashi Tharoor.
The leaders had demanded an "active, full-time and visible" party chief.
Earlier on Monday, Sonia Gandhi had offered to resign as chief.
Aftermath: Gandhi loyalists criticized those questioning Sonia's leadership
Thereafter, the rifts in the party became more pronounced as several party leaders jumped to Sonia Gandhi's support and attacked the letter's signatories.
It was earlier reported that Rahul Gandhi had accused the signatories of colluding with the rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), inviting a retort from Sibal.
However, the party later claimed that Rahul Gandhi had never made such a statement.
History: Century-old party loses sheen
The Congress party's support base has dwindled the last few years.
After the BJP returned to power at the Centre with a thumping majority in 2019, the party's prominence further diminished.
At the time, Rahul Gandhi had resigned as party chief, taking responsibility for the defeat.
Critics say the party is in dire need of an overhaul, questioning the leadership of the Nehru-Gandhi family.