The Congress Working Committee met on Monday to formally initiate the process for the election of party chief. Announcing the dates for the election at a press conference in New Delhi, the party said the poll notification will be issued on December 1 and the nomination and scrutiny process will be completed by December 5. The last date for withdrawal of nomination is December 11. Voting, if needed, will be held on December 16 and results will be declared on December 19, the party said.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who chaired the meeting, is likely to step down from the role and could continue as chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party.
“Sonia Gandhi is our leader and mentor. She has always guided the Congress party. Her able leadership and guidance will always be available. Not only to Rahulji, also to the thousands and thousands of party worker,” Surjewala said.
The Indian Express first reported on Sunday that party vice-president Rahul Gandhi is expected to be elevated to the role of president within the next few weeks.
Last year, Rahul Gandhi was asked by the CWC to take over as president but he preferred to get formally elected. He has been running the party affairs for quite some time owing to the ill-health of Sonia Gandhi, who is Congress’ longest-serving president.
If elected unopposed, Rahul Gandhi will take over as President before the assembly election results in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat are declared.
Meanwhile, at the CWC meeting, Congress president Sonia Gandhi lashed at the Narendra Modi-led government at Centre for allegedly “sabotaging” the Parliament Winter Session.
“Modi govt in its arrogance hs cast a dark shadow on India’s Parliamentary democracy by sabotaging the Winter Session of Parliament on flimsy grounds. Modi Govt is mistaken if it thinks that by locking the temple of democracy, it will escape constitutional accountability ahead of the assembly elections. Prime Minister had the audacity to have a midnight celebration in Parliament to launch an ill-prepared and flawed GST but today he lacks the courage to face Parliament,” Sonia Gandhi was quoted as saying.
On the issues of GST and demonetisation, Sonia said: “Unemployment, rising inflation, falling exports and GST are causing tremendous suffering to millions of people. A year later, demonetization has done nothing but rub salt on the wounds of distressed farmers, small traders, housewives and daily workers.”