Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi asked the party to relieve her from the responsibility and suggested election of a new president during Monday's (24 August) Congress Working Committee meeting, Hindustan Times reported.
A letter written by Gandhi to All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary K C Venugopal was read out during the meeting in which she expressed her wish to quit as party chief. Gandhi said a process must begin to elect a new party president.
However, a number of party veterans including former prime minister Manmohan Singh requested Sonia Gandhi to continue on the top post.
The CWC meeting has been called mainly to discuss the leadership crisis as several senior leaders, in a letter to Gandhi, have demanded a change in party leadership.
In the letter, the leaders have demanded a "full time and effective leadership" which is not only "visible", but also "active" in the field. They have also called for the establishment of an "institutional leadership mechanism" to "collectively" guide the party's yearning for a resurgence.
The signatories to the letter include Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad; party MPs and former union ministers Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor; MP Vivek Tankha; AICC office bearers and CWC members including Mukul Wasnik and Jitin Prasada and former Chief Ministers and Union Ministers including Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Rajender Kaur Bhattal, M Veerappa Moily, Prithviraj Chavan, P J Kurian, Ajay Singh, Renuka Chaudhary, and Milind Deora; former PCC chiefs Raj Babbar (UP), Arvinder Singh Lovely (Delhi) and Kaul Singh Thakur (Himachal); current Bihar campaign chief Akhilesh Prasad Singh, former Haryana Speaker Kuldeep Sharma; former Delhi Speaker Yoganand Shastri and former MP Sandeep Dixit.
However, during the CWC meeting, senior Congress leader A K Antony questioned the letter written by party leaders urging for sweeping reforms, and 'a full-time, visible leadership.
With many Congress leaders openly demanding Rahul Gandhi to 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. Thereafter, a bunch of leaders wrote the letter to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi on the issue of leadership change and elections in the CWC.
(With inputs from IANS)
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