Congress Working president Sonia Gandhi has told a senior Congress leader that she does not want to continue as the party chief and has asked leaders to start the process of finding a new president, sources said. The development has come ahead of the crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, scheduled to take place on Monday, August 24.
Ahead of the CWC meet, different voices have emerged within the party with one section comprising sitting MPs and former ministers demanding collective leadership, while another group has sought the return of Rahul Gandhi to the helm.
While two dozen Congress leaders including some ex-ministers have written to party president Sonia Gandhi for overhaul of the organizational structure and changes to the leadership, some leaders close to Rahul have also written to the CWC pressing for the Gandhi scion's return as chief.
The letter by former ministers and some MPs was believed to have been written a few weeks ago and sets the stage for a stormy CWC meeting where issues flagged by dissenters are expected to be discussed and debated.
These leaders have called for bringing changes in the organization by effecting reforms through decentralisation of power and empowerment of state units besides setting up of the central Parliamentary Board, a body that existed in the party in the 1970s but was later wound up.
Speaking on the letter, Congress's Ashwani Kumar said, "timing and motivation of the letter (written by some senior Congress leaders to president Sonia Gandhi over party leadership) is suspicious. Although some long-standing Congressmen are signatories to letter, there are some who have harmed party repeatedly."
"Issues required to be addressed can be addressed under Sonia Gandhi's leadership who has held the party together through difficult times. Only a year ago, party men literally begged her to lead the party. It's wrong to question her unifying leadership now," Kumar added.
(With inputs from PTI)