Sonia Gandhi retired from the post of Congress president on Friday, a day before Rahul Gandhi will officially take charge. Confirming the news on Twitter, party chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Sonia has retired from the post of president and not from politics. Sonia has been the longest-serving president of the party; she was elected to the post in 1998.
“Smt Sonia Gandhi has retired as President of Indian National Congress and not from politics. Her blessings, wisdom and innate commitment to Congress ideology shall always be our guiding light,” Surjewala tweeted.
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Sonia’s faced challenges in the initial years of her tenure, when Sharad Pawar and P A Sangma resigned citing her foreign origin in 1991, and Jitendra Prasada challenged her for the post in 2001. However, with Sonia at the helm, the Congress at one point ruled as many as 16 states. Since 2014, several leaders have left the party, reducing its strength in many states.
Rahul was elected to the post unopposed earlier this week, after receiving 89 nominations in his favour. He will be elected on Saturday, in a ceremony in New Delhi attended by Sonia and other party leaders.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had congratulated him, on his election, and extended his “best wishes for a fruitful tenure.” Rahul had thanked the prime minister for his good wishes. He had added, “A heartfelt thank you to everyone for the tremendous support and good wishes you have showered on me. It is an honour for me to work for the ideals of the Congress party and through it for our great country.”