Rahul Gandhi officially announced his resignation as the Congress president on Wednesday, leaving the party with the task of picking a new boss.
In his resignation letter, Rahul made it clear that he won't be choosing his successor. "Many of my colleagues suggested that I nominate the next Congress president. While it is important for someone new to lead our party, it would not be correct for me to select that person... Immediately after resigning, I suggested to my colleagues in the Congress Working Committee that the way forward would be to entrust a group of people with the task of beginning the search for a new president. I have empowered them to do so and committed my full support to this process and a smooth transition," he wrote.
Rahul, who had become the Congress chief in 2017, had offered to step down from his post at the CWC meeting on 25 May, taking moral responsibility for the party's abysmal performance in the Lok Sabha election. However, his resignation was unanimously rejected by the CWC and his party leaders had been pushing him to reconsider his position since then.
With Rahul taking to Twitter to officially step down from his post, all eyes are now on the few names appearing as front-runners to take his place. Here are some contenders:
Following Rahul's resignation, speculations flooded the internet of Vora being named as the interim party chief. Vora is deemed a close aide of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. He has also served as the president of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee. A former Madhya Pradesh chief minister, he served as the governor of Uttar Pradesh from the year 1993 to 1996. He also served as the deputy chairman of Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation.
However, as reported by ANI, Vora reacted to reports about his name doing the rounds as the interim Congress chief by saying, "I have no information about this."
Sushil Kumar Shinde
The names of Shinde and Mallikarjun Kharge have been doing the rounds for the top post ever since Rahul offered to resign in May. Shinde, a former Union home minister, is a Gandhi family loyalist. He had earlier been the chief minister of Maharashtra as well. The senior leader has also served in various other positions in his four-decade-spanning political career and is currently a party general-secretary.
Kharge, who was elected as leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha during 2014-19, recently lost the Lok Sabha election from Gulbarga constituency. Despite the poll loss, Kharge remains a tall leader in the party. He began his political career in 1972 and has served as a cabinet minister in the Karnataka government. In June 2018, he was appointed as the party's general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra.
Ghulam Nabi Azad
Congress sources told Firstpost that if the senior-most general secretary is to be selected for the post of president, chances are that it may be either Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni or Mukul Wasnik. Azad may be a frontrunner among these three, due to his experience and political graph.
Azad has been part of the Congress for over four decades now and is a former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister. Currently the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, the 70-year-old has held various ministerial portfolios at the Centre in Congress-led governments since 1982.
Updated Date: Jul 03, 2019 18:34:58 IST