CWC Meeting Highlights: The Congress party failed to reach a consensus on a non-Gandhi president and banked on Sonia Gandhi to lead the party which has hit its lowest ebb. After a day-long marathon meeting of the Congress Working Committee, Sonia Gandhi was appointed as interim president, indicating that the party could not look beyond the Gandhi family. Rahul Gandhi had resigned as president after the Lok Sabha election in May. Earlier, the names of Mukul Wasnik and Mallikarjun Kharge – both Dalit leaders – were doing the rounds for the post.
Soon after the CWC meet got over today, the party held a press briefing in which party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala and AICC general secretary KC Venugopal spoke on resolutions taken in the CWC meeting. Congress also expressed concerns over the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370. Former party chief Rahul Gandhi spoke to media after the meeting today and urged the government to lift the “veil of secrecy” from the Valley.
Earlier, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former party president Rahul Gandhi refused to participate in the consultation process to zero in on the next party chief. After holding talks during the crucial meeting at the AICC headquarters in Delhi, Sonia said as former presidents of the party, the mother-son duo cannot participate in the process. “We cannot be part of this process,” Sonia Gandhi said after she recused herself from the deliberations.
CWC meeting Highlights: Congress appoints Sonia Gandhi as party's interim president Saturday. Follow latest updates.
Sonia interim chief till the AICC elects a regular president
Three resolutions passed in CWC meeting
The Congress Working Committee on Saturday passed three resolutions on Rahul Gandhi's contribution as party chief, Sonia Gandhi being appointed interim chief till the AICC elects a regular president, and on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. According to one of the resolutions, the CWC unanimously resolved to request Sonia Gandhi to take over as interim chief pending the election of a regular president by the AICC. Rahul Gandhi was requested to accept stay on as party chief, however, he declined to withdraw his resignation, it said.
The first resolution said that the CWC places on record its profound sense of appreciation and gratitude for the exceptional leadership provided by Rahul Gandhi as Congress president.
"Rahul Gandhi led the party with unbounded drive, fierce determination and dedication," another resolution said. "Rahul Gandhi's instinctive moral compass is evident from the manner in which he has taken personal responsibility for the disappointing performance of the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, thereby setting new standards of accountability in public life," it said.
A third resolution on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was also adopted by the Congress' top decision-making body, Congress general secretary organisation K C Venugopal and party's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala announced. (PTI)
This is for second time that Sonia will lead the party
Sonia Gandhi had taken over as president in 1998 and led the party to two victories in 2004 and 2019. After the debacle in Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, Rahul Gandhi had resigned from the top post. Though the CWC wanted to him to continue, the Gandhi scion remained firm on his decision. In today’s meeting of the top decision-making body of the party, it was widely expected that the party will choose a non-Gandhi chief.
Reports of unrest emanating from J&K: Rahul
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi today said that reports of unrest are emanating from Jammu and Kashmir. "Govt. has imposed a media & communications black out. I urge the Govt. to take urgent steps to ensure the safety of every citizen in J&K and to lift the veil of secrecy," he tweeted.
Reports of unrest are emanating from J&K where the Govt. has imposed a media & communications black out.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 10, 2019
I urge the Govt. to take urgent steps to ensure the safety of every citizen in J&K and to lift the veil of secrecy. pic.twitter.com/hZCHyhSXkW
Grateful to Sonia Gandhi for accepting request: Cong leader Anand Sharma
"We are all grateful to Sonia Gandhi for accepting the unanimous request of the CWC to be the Interim President of Congress, at this critical juncture when India faces numerous challenges," Congress leader Anand Sharma said in a tweet.
We are all grateful to Smt #SoniaGandhi for accepting request of the unanimous request of the CWC to be the Interim President of @INCIndia, at this critical juncture when India faces numerous challenges.— Anand Sharma (@AnandSharmaINC) August 10, 2019
Happy to see Smt. Sonia Gandhi ji back in the saddle: Amarinder
"Happy to see Smt. Sonia Gandhi ji back in the saddle. It was the best decision in the current circumstances. Her experience and understanding will help guide," said Punjab CM Amarinder Singh on Twitter.
Happy to see Smt. Sonia Gandhi ji back in the saddle. It was the best decision in the current circumstances. Her experience and understanding will help guide @INCIndia. I wish her and the party all the best. pic.twitter.com/IathmJDkBq— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) August 10, 2019
Congratulations to CWC for making the best decision in current circumstances: Shashi Tharoor
"Congratulations to INC Working Committee for making the best decision in current circumstances, requesting Sonia Gandhi ji to take over as Interim President pending the election of a regular Pres by the AICC. Let elections allow Party workers to decide who should lead them," Tharoor said in a tweet.
Congratulations to @INCIndia WorkingCommittee for making the best decision in current circumstances, requesting Smt SoniaGandhi ji to take over as Interim President pending the election of a regular Pres by the AICC. Let elections allow Party workers to decide who shld lead them.— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) August 10, 2019
Punjab CM welcomes Sonia Gandhi's appointment as interim chief
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has welcomed the nomination of Sonia Gandhi as Congress interim president.
.@capt_amarinder has welcomed the nomination of Sonia Gandhi as Congress interim president as the best decision in the circumstances, saying her experience and understanding will guide @INCIndia and fill the vacuum created by the resignation of @RahulGandhi. pic.twitter.com/PuxsOjjy5h— Raveen Thukral (@RT_MediaAdvPbCM) August 10, 2019
'First resolution said that Rahul fought against forces of bigotry, hate and prejudice'
In the press briefing by Congress, AICC general secretary KC Venugopal said that the first resolution that came after the CWC meet said that Rahul Gandhi fought against forces of bigotry, hate and prejudice.
The CWC places on record its profound sense of appreciation and gratitude for the exceptional leadership provided by Shri Rahul Gandhi as Congress President, it said.
The resolution further stated that Rahul led the party with unbounded drive, fierce determination and dedication. He campaigned in the assembly and national elections with indefatigable energy. He stood up fearlessly on issues of day-to-day concern to kisans, khet mazdoors, workers, traders and small businesses, youth, women, minorities, dalits and adivasis and the weaker sections of our society. . He raised his voice boldly against the growing atmosphere of fear and intimidation in our country. These issues continue to be of significant relevance irrespective of the electoral verdict of May 2019, it stated.
CWC has acceped Rahul Gandhi's resignation as Congress chief
KC Venugopal: Congress Working Committee unanimously resolved that Rahul Gandhi should continue as Congress president & requested him to accept this decision, however, he declined to withdraw his resignation.
CWC unanimously resolved to request Sonia to take over as Interim President
Congress general secretary, K C Venugopal, who was invited to speak on the issue by Surjewala, said that Congress Working Committee (CWC) has unanimously resolved to request Sonia Gandhi to take over as the Interim President, pending the election of a regular president by the AICC. (ANI)
CWC meet over, Congress media briefing underway
As soon as the CWC meet ended, the Congress held a press briefing. In the party presser, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that Rahul Gandhi has worked tirelessly for the party. Rahul gave the party a news energy and direction, he said.
CWC has accepted Rahul Gandhi's resignation after he declined to continue as party chief, PTI reported.
Sonia Gandhi appointed as interim Congress President
After a marathon CWC meet on Saturday, the Congress party appointed Sonia Gandhi as interim party president. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad confirmed the development while speking to media after the meeting.
No decision on Congress chief: Party ends deliberation citing issues surrounding J&K
Congress stops deliberation on choosing the next chief for the party citing issues surround Jammu and Kashmir. Briefing the media, Rahul Gandhi said that the deliberations have been stopped owing to reports emanating from J&K.
Rahul Gandhi arrives at AICC HQ for CWC meet
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi arrives at the AICC HQ for CWC meet. The meeting is being held to appoint the next chief of the grand old party.
CWC meeting underway at AICC HQ
Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting underway at All India Congress Committee (AICC) office.
Sonia, Priyanka Gandhi arrive for CWC meeting
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra arrive at All India Congress Committee (AICC) office for Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting.
CWC members arrive for meeting to chose next party chief
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress leaders AK Antony, Mallikarjun Kharge and Jyotiraditya Scindia arrive at All India Congress Committee (AICC) office for Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting.
CWC meeting to begin at 8; Rahul Gandhi's name likely to be proposed
The report of all the 5 committees will be submitted and taken up for consideration by CWC now. Sources say most of the committees have proposed the name of Rahul Gandhi once again. Even the committee in which Priyanka was there has proposed his name.
Sonia Gandhi talks about late Sheila Dikshit
She stood by my side in my darkest years. Later, when I was able to come out of my sorrow, she urged me to take the responsibility of Presidentship of the Congress party and when I took it, she was there guiding me as an elder sister: Sonia Gandhi talking about late Sheila Dikshit.
Watch: What is Congress Working Committee?
CWC to meet again at 8 pm to select new party chief
At 11 am, the Congress' top brass, including ex-prime minister Manmohan Singh, party general secretaries Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ahmed Patel, A K Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad and P Chidambaram, went into a huddle at the All India Congress Committee headquarters here.
The CWC decided to have consultations with leaders from across the country and it was divided into five groups for different regions -- northeast, east, north, west and south.
CWC to take a call on the issue in the evening today
The CWC unanimously appealed to Gandhi to lead the party, saying he was the best person for the top post at the time when the BJP-led government was "assaulting democracy and undermining people's rights". "The CWC will meet again this evening to take a call on the reports of CWC sub-groups. There was a sense that the situation of impasse on Congress leadership should be resolved as soon as possible. Therefore it was felt that the CWC should meet again this evening and take a call on the issue," Surjewala said.
'Rahul's resignation under consideration': Surjewala
"Rahul's resignation as Congress chief still under consideration, CWC to take a decision in the evening," Surjewala said.
Rahul Gandhi is voice of opposition, says Surjewala
"The BJP government is subjugating the Constitution, suppressing the voice of dissent, is deriding the democratic process; our democracy is in danger on account of the overwhelming majority that they enjoy and refuse to listen to the voice of the people of India. In such a situation, the voice of a strong opposition needs to be heard and that is of Rahul Gandhi," Surjewala said.
Surjewala on why Rahul, Sonia left the CWC meeting
"Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi felt a democratic process has to prevail and everyone's views must be taken. That is why they recused themselves from the party," Surjewala told reporters.
Congress to hold second CWC meeting tonight
While addressing the media, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "We need a strong opposition and Rahul is apt to lead it. He, however, thanked Congress workers across the country and said his resignation not to withdraw his resignation is final. He said he will work with full force for his party. A second CWC meet will be held at 8 pm today where the reports will be presented and a decision taken accordingly."
'We cannot business as usual': Shashi Tharoor
Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor, tweeted, "My position remains what I first articulated more than a month ago: CWC should choose an Interim President asap, then resign and announce open elections for both President and CWC." He added, "The final choice should reflect the wishes of the party workers and should be a person, irrespective of age or gender, who can both energize the party organization and inspire the voters -- especially those who did not support us in 2014 and 2019. We just cannot afford "business as usual"."
2/2 The final choice should reflect the wishes of the Party workers & should be a person, irrespective of age or gender, who can both energize the party organization & inspire the voters --esp those who did not support us in 2014 & 2019. We just cannot afford "business as usual".— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) August 10, 2019
'Rahul and I cannot be part of consultation process': Sonia Gandhi
"Now consultation (to decide next party chief) is going on and naturally me and Rahul ji cannot be a part of it," Sonia Gandhi was quoted as saying by ANI.
Sonia Gandhi on leaving from Congress Working Committee meeting: Now consultation(to decide next party chief) is going on and naturally me and Rahul ji cannot be a part of it pic.twitter.com/OcMoztJtuQ— ANI (@ANI) August 10, 2019
Sonia, Rahul refuse to be part of consultation panel
Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi left the CWC meeting today, saying that, as former presidents, they cannot be a part of the consultation groups. The process will continue but the duo will not be a part of it.
Lack of clarity on leadership after Rahul’s resignation hurting Congress: Shashi Tharoor
Asserting that “lack of clarity” over leadership following Rahul Gandhi’s resignation is hurting the Congress, senior leader Shashi Tharoor had earlier said the way forward for the party could be opening up all key posts, including the CWC membership, to fresh elections which would help legitimise the incoming set of leaders. “It is certainly quite true that the lack of clarity at the top of the party is likely to be hurting the Congress workers and sympathisers, many of whom miss the fact of having a party leader to look to for key decisions, authority and even inspiration and energy, to rally together and move forward,” the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.
‘Aghast’ at disorientation into which Cong fell since Rahul quit: Karan Singh
Veteran Congress leader Karan Singh had earlier said he is “aghast” at the disorientation into which the party has fallen since Rahul Gandhi’s resignation, and urged the working committee to meet without delay under the chairmanship of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take necessary decisions. “I am aghast to see the confusion and disorientation into which the party has fallen since Rahul Gandhi resigned on May 25. Instead of honouring his bold decision a month was wasted pleading him to take back his resignation,” he said in a statement. “I strongly urge the working committee to meet without delay, perhaps under the chairmanship of former PM Manmohan Singh and take necessary decisions,” the former Union minister added.
Manish Tewari: Enforcing accountability should be first agenda of CWC rather than to name president
Congress leader and Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari spoke to The Indian Express on the leadership crisis in the party. "I think this young versus old and experience versus dynamism debate is a completely sterile debate. What you require is someone who would be able to or who would have sufficient gravitas, sufficient organisational journey to be able to command the respect and commitment of Congress workers and leaders across the country. The challenge at this point in time is to keep the party together, keep it cohesive. And that is how you will prepare for the long haul. This is the time for consolidation. You know, this is in my opinion, not the time for experimentation," he said. Click here to read full interview.
Watch video: Rahul Gandhi arrives for CWC meet
CWC panel divided into five groups for discussion on new Congress chief
The CWC members have been divided into five groups to facilitate discussions on the new Congress chief.
Watch video: Sonia Gandhi arrives for CWC meet
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi arrives for the meeting at the AICC headquarters.