New Delhi: The election of Congress president that was to end by September 20 is likely to be delayed by a few weeks with the party focused on the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ and some state units not completing formalities, sources said Thursday.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body, will hold a virtual meeting on Sunday to approve the exact schedule for the election. Congress president Sonia Gandhi will preside over the CWC meeting.
The Congress had announced in October last year that the election of the new party president will be held between August 21 and September 20 this year.
The CWC had decided that elections for block committees and one member each of the Pradesh Congress Committees will be held from April 16 to May 31, district committee chiefs will be elected between June 1 and July 20, PCC chiefs and AICC members between July 21 and August 20, and AICC president between August 21 and September 20.
Sources said the process will be delayed by a few weeks, not more than that, and the party should have a full-time president in October.
The delay was due to the focus of the party on the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ from Kanyakumari to Kashmir starting September 7 and some state units not completing formalities for the polls in time, they said.
Preparations are on in the party for the ‘Bharat Jodo yatra’ which will cover 3,570 km from Kanyakumari in the south to Kashmir in the north in about five months.
It will pass through 12 states and two Union Territories. Simultaneously, smaller ‘Bharat Jodo Yatras’ will be taken out in various states.
Several leaders, including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, have been publicly exhorting Rahul Gandhi to return as the party chief. However, uncertainty and suspense continue on the issue.
Several party insiders say Rahul Gandhi is persisting with his stance that he will not be the AICC president.
Gehlot on Wednesday sought to play down reports about him being the frontrunner for the Congress president’s post and said efforts will be made till the last minute to persuade Rahul Gandhi to take over the reins of the party again.
Gehlot’s remarks came a day after he met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, triggering the buzz that the two may have discussed the possibility of him being the next party president.
Interacting with reporters, Gehlot had said, “We will try to persuade Rahul Gandhi Ji till the last moment to take over as the Congress president. The Congress Working Committee meeting is being held on August 28. We would like him to be the president.” “If Rahul Gandhi does not become the president, many people will be disappointed and will sit at home,” he had said.
Rahul Gandhi resigned as Congress president after the party suffered its second consecutive defeat in parliamentary elections in 2019.
Sonia Gandhi, who took over the reins of the party again as interim president, had also offered to quit in August 2020 after an open revolt by a section of leaders, referred to as G-23, but the CWC had urged her to continue.