Congress president Sonia Gandhi is likely to resign from her position as the party chief after the 2017 Assembly elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Reliable sources close to the party president said she will step down owing to health reasons. The sources added that she has not been keeping well and wanted to step down much earlier, but members of the party’s old guard wanted her to continue till elections in the two crucial states are done.
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Punjab and Uttar Pradesh will go to polls between February and March after the Union Budget is presented on 1 February 2017. Over the past five years, Congress party’s political presence in the country has steadily decreased and these elections will prove vital for the party’s prospects going forward.
“She (Sonia) is most likely to step down after the election. She is not in favour of completing the full tenure [of her extended 1-year term as party president],” sources told Indianexpress.com.
Clearing the air on Rahul Gandhi’s appointment, the sources said: “It certainly doesn’t look like it’ll happen before the elections. Although, the process has been initiated.”
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has been groomed to take up the mantle from his mother for several years now. Despite the widespread demands in the party’s young workers and Rahul’s core team, the old guard still feels comfortable with Sonia at the helm for these crucial polls.
At a recent Congress Working Committee meeting in Delhi, the CWC members unanimously pitched for Rahul’s inevitable ascendancy for the top post. It is understood that another meeting of the CWC is being planned this month to work out the formalities and fix the date for the change of power.
Party circles are also abuzz with Priyanka Vadra’s formal entry into politics in 2019. “It’s a demand that has been going on for ages. By the way things are developing [in the family and the party], she may fight the 2019 elections from Rae Bareli (Sonia Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency).”