Sonia accepted a proposal by the Working Committee of Congress (CWC) to take the post of "interim president" after attempts to find a replacement for Rahul led to a stalemate and he himself refused to accept his resignation as party leader announced three months ago in The Lok Sabha optional route. Following Rahul's resignation, he has repeatedly said that no Gandhi will take over the party president after him.
Saturday's move by Gulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram and Anand Sharma and approved by Manmohan Singh to Sonia to return to the post, which he gave up for his son in 2017, was unexpected and sensational. She led Congress from 1998 to 2017, and her dismissal suggested that this was her final presence in the leadership position. Few expected her to take the helm, especially because of Rahul's "no Gandhi" stance and the BJP's successful outlook for Congress as a family party.
For Congress, the "first family" remains the only glue
The return of Sonia Gandhi as Congress leader suggests that the party failed to settle with anyone outside Rundi's Gandhi family, proving once again that the "first family" remains the only glue for the party.
Sources said Sonia is extremely reluctant to accept the proposal and must be persuaded by calls to help the party get out of the current situation. She was told there was no consensus on another name for the post.
Many leaders and functionaries were seen during the selection, the most famous being Punjab CM, Amarinder Singh, who was throwing a stick to hand over to some of the younger generation. The party managers assigned to the status quo, however, did not seem enthusiastic about the idea of change in generations. The GenNext vs. Old Guard battle over the lines has pulled off any opportunity from some outside the family to get the reins.
Congress spokesman Randip Singh Surjewala justified the decision, citing "difficult times that the country is going through" and highlighting Sonia's credentials as an "experienced and experienced leader".
According to the CWC's decision, Sonya will hold office until the AICC election to elect a full-time president. But we may have to wait for the upcoming set of assembly elections to end, with Delhi being the last in February 2020. This could put Sonia in the top job in about a year, far more than the term " the intermediate 'period indicates. A resolution adopted by the CWC was in praise of Rahul and emphasized that he politely refused to continue to be president of Congress, despite the unanimity among the "billions of workers" he continues.
In an extraordinary exercise conducted by the CCC on Saturday to seek the views of state leaders, including state presidents, parliamentary party leaders and MPs, virtually every regional leader put before Rahul will continue. There was an extreme reluctance to name an alternative. The only other name that came up for discussion was the name of another Gandhi, the secretary general of the Priyanka Party.
The CWC, with 54 members in attendance, split into five subgroups in the morning to express states' views on who should succeed Rahul. Sonia and Rahul, who were also divided into groups, withdrew, saying they did not want their presence to influence the views of members of Congress. Participants reunited at 8:00 to discuss the reports of the 5 subgroups. The responses excluded non-Gandhi, with members of at least one subgroup warning of "disbanding" if management switched to "names making the rounds".
Punjab Congress chief Sunil Johar told the CWC sub-group that only Sonia could replace Rahul and threaten to sit at home if "any Tom, Dick and Harry" were appointed. Raja Sabha MP Partap Singh Baiva warned that "some have left and others will also leave the party" if the organization continues to be without a channel.
Against the backdrop of the ongoing drama, Rahul rejected requests from CWC leaders to continue, first made at the morning meeting and then at their late-night session. The body of the summit late last night, chaired by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, proposed Sonia as Rahul's temporary successor.
Earlier in the day, the much-anticipated CWC meeting began, with senior officials urging Rahul to continue to lead the Congress, citing "trying times" and "the BJP's attack on democracy" and also praising his "courage".