Days after Rahul Gandhi resigned as President of the Congress party, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has called a meeting of party MPs on Tuesday, news agency ANI reported. The party is looking for a replacement to helm the party as the several leaders are pitching for a young successor to take Rahul’s place.
Though no Congress leader or worker has publicly put forward any name, party insiders told PTI that Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia could be front-runners for the top job in the Grand Old Party. Milind Deora, who had recently resigned as Mumbai Congress President for a national role is also being looked as a probable candidate.
Following Rahul’s decision to quit the top post, there has been a spate of resignations in the Congress in the wake of the humiliating defeat in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha election at the hands of the BJP. The resignations citing accountability have put party ‘old guard’ in a spot with pressure mounting on them to follow suit.
Amid the leadership crisis, the grand old party is already facing a tough challenge of staying afloat in Karnataka where 15 coalition MLAs have resigned or withdrew support forcing the government on the brink of collapse. While the party has rushed KC Venugopal to Bengaluru, the situation seems to be tilting in favour of the BJP.
Independent MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh — both Cabinet ministers — submitted their resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala, reducing the strength of the ruling coalition to 103 as against the opposition BJP’s 105. The Speaker has asked the MLAs who have resigned to meet him personally on Tuesday as required under the anti-defection law. Both Shankar and Nagesh later left for Mumbai. In the evening, all the 14 dissident legislators, who were lodged at Mumbai’s Sofitel Hotel for the past two days, left for Goa.
During the day, Sonia Gandhi also met with Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Raj Thackeray in New Delhi.
Later today, Sonia and Rahul met new MPs of the party in Delhi as part of a training programme, a PTI report said.
Sonia addressed the MPs and assured them of all the support from the Congress, a leader present at the orientation meeting held at the party’s war room at 15 Gurdwara Raqabganj Road said.
She stressed on holding such meetings with elected MPs often, the leader said. While Rahul Gandhi did not address the meet, party’s chief whip K Suresh, Rajeev Gowda and Jairam Ramesh spoke on the occasion, sources were quoted as saying by the news agency.