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New Delhi, August 24, 2020
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday targeted the party dissenters and questioned the timing of the letter which was sent to interim chief Sonia Gandhi seeking leadership change, even as Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Chief Ministers Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel requested him to take over as party chief.
Congress sources said that while addressing the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision making body of the party, Rahul Gandhi questioned the timing of the letter and said, "What was the reason to write a letter when Sonia Gandhi was admitted in hospital and when the party was fighting the political crisis in Rajasthan."
Sonia Gandhi was admitted in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on July 30 for routine checkup and was discharged on August 2, while the Rajasthan political crisis began on July 11 when former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot rebelled against the party leadership. The Rajasthan crisis was finally taken care of by the top leadership on August 11.
As the CWC meeting took off earlier, Sonia Gandhi offered to step down from the party's top post but it was rejected by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he asked her to continue. The letter of Sonia Gandhi to the people who wrote to her demanding a change in the leadership, said that she wanted to be relieved from the position.
In her letter, she also asked the party to begin deliberations and start the process of transition to relieve her from her duties.
Sonia Gandhi's letter was read out by party General Secretary (Organisation) K. C. Venugopal at the meeting, wherein she offered to quit and said the process should be initiated to elect a new Congress President.
She also referred to a letter written to her by senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. Senior Congress leader A. K. Antony questioned that letter in which several party leaders called for sweeping reforms, and "a full-time, visible leadership".
Haryana Congress leader Kumari Selja also targeted the dissenters for writing the letter seeking leadership change and called the leaders who wrote the letter "agents of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)".
With many Congress leaders openly demanding Rahul Gandhi be brought back as the party chief without any further delay, the party made it clear that the CWC meeting will discuss the issue.
The meeting comes weeks after the Congress saw a stormy meeting of its Rajya Sabha MPs wherein certain leaders sought introspection on the 2019 poll debacle. It was thereafter that a bunch of leaders wrote the letter to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi on the issue of leadership change and elections in the CWC.