Party General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal tweeted that the exact schedule of elections for the top post of the party is likely to be decided on August 28.
A virtual meeting of the CWC will be held on August 28, 2022 at 3:30 PM to approve the exact schedule of the date… https://t.co/zbZAT4KjnF
— KC Venugopal (@kcvenugopalmp) 1661317563000
Party leaders will be busy in the ‘Bharat Jodi Yatra’ that begins on September 7. Apart from this, important members of the Gandhi family are currently abroad. These factors could be behind the possibility of postponing the long-running election.
The delay will add to the Congress’s unease over several issues – murmurs of discontent about the functioning of top leaders, talks of some high-profile stepping out of important party positions and electing a non-Gandhi as the president.
However, it is still not clear who will take over the reins of Sonia Gandhi.
No one is willing to lead the Gandhi family?
Rahul Gandhi is reportedly keeping the party on tenterhook and has so far turned down offers to take the top post again. He was the party president from 2017 to 2019.
His sister Priyanka Gandhi is also said to be in the limelight, but her performance as in-charge of Uttar Pradesh has not been inspiring, especially with the defeat in the state elections earlier this year.
Meanwhile, current Speaker Sonia Gandhi has said that she will not continue in her role due to her health condition.
If not Gandhi then who?
Some senior Congress leaders are said to be working on a Plan-B in case none of the Gandhi family finally agrees to lead the party. But so far no clear “precursor” has emerged, leaving room for speculation and conjecture.
Rajasthan’s 71-year-old chief minister Ashok Gehlot, a Gandhi loyalist, appears to be a suitable non-Gandhi contender for the party’s top post.
When contacted by a section within the party, MP unit chief Kamal Nath is said to have refused, saying he cannot leave the state.
Some say that a senior Dalit leader may be the choice if the party has to fill a post outside the Gandhi family.
Earlier, names like Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Mallikarjun Kharge and Mukul Wasnik have come up.
“G-23” members Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad are believed to have reduced their chances after exiting from key party positions in their respective states.
Notably, the Congress has not had a non-Gandhi president since 1998 after Sitaram Kesari.
(with agency input)