Congress downplays strife, asserts Rahul Gandhi best suited to lead party ahead of Sonia's meet with rebels

The assertion comes ahead of Saturday's meeting between Sonia Gandhi and many of the 23 leaders who wrote to her in August demanding an active leadership and maintained that Gandhis will always be a 'guiding force'

Press Trust of India December 18, 2020 22:13:45 IST
Congress downplays strife, asserts Rahul Gandhi best suited to lead party ahead of Sonia's meet with rebels

File image of Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. PTI

New Delhi: Ahead of a crucial meeting of Sonia Gandhi with a section of senior leaders who had written to her in August demanding an overhaul of the organisation, the Congress on Friday downplayed any internal dissensions and said Rahul Gandhi was the "right person" to lead the party.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the party stood united and together as a family and there are no dissensions pending after the announcement of elections to the party chief's post.

The assertion comes ahead of Saturday's meeting between Sonia Gandhi and many of the 23 leaders who wrote to her in August. They had also demanded an active leadership and maintained that Gandhis will always be a "guiding force".

Congress downplays strife asserts Rahul Gandhi best suited to lead party ahead of Sonias meet with rebels

Sources said among those slated to meet Gandhi are Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, the party's deputy leader in the Upper House Anand Sharma, former chief ministers Bhupinder Hooda and Prithviraj Chavan, Manish Tewari, Vivek Tankha and Shashi Tharoor.

Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath and senior leader P Chidambaram will also be part of the meeting, the sources added. Rahul Gandhi is also set to attend the meeting, the sources confirmed.

Even as the party downplayed any internal frictions, the "letter writers" maintain that the issues they raised remain relevant and are "far from over".

Azad had recently slammed "five-star culture" in the party and said elections must be held at all organisational levels starting from the block. Surjewala, however, said all issues raised by the "letter writers" stood resolved after Sonia Gandhi announced elections for the Congress president.

"This is not a meet of any special group of leaders. This is not a meet of any dissenters or rebels. Because we consider each leader and each worker as part of the family," he said while seeking to downplay the meet.

"Congress workers and the electoral college including the AICC members of the party will choose a person best suited for the post.

"It is my belief and the belief of overwhelming majority of 99.9 percent leaders and workers that Rahul Gandhi is the right person to lead the party and to take on the Modi government," Surjewala said.

He said Rahul is perhaps that "rare breed" of leaders who has fearlessly questioned the anti-people policies of Modi government and endearing himself not only to Congress workers but also to ordinary Indians.

"We feel Rahul should lead the party from the front," he said.

Asked about Saturday's meeting, he said the Congress president was unable to meet people on many issues for a considerable amount of time on account of COVID-19 protocol.

Starting Saturday and over a period of the next fortnight, Sonia is going to meet and decide on various organisational issues besides those like winter session of Parliament not held, the farmers agitation and finalising alliances in key states, he said.

Surjewala said addressing issues raised by some of the senior leaders, Sonia has already decided to hold elections to the post of president of Congress and that the process is currently underway.

"All matters stand resolved with the announcement of the election of the next Congress president so there are no internal issues of dissensions of any nature that are pending in the party.

"BJP continues to sometimes propagate such insinuations which our leaders do not believe including those who had written letters. We are one family. We will stay united and work together," he said.

The president of Congress will be chosen by the electoral college of the party, he said.

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