Congress President Sonia Gandhi (File Photo, Image credit: The Indian Express)

Sonia takes first step towards befriending dissidents

The crisis within the Congress appears to be ending after party president Sonia Gandhi and former chief Rahul Gandhi met many of those leaders associated with the Group of 23, who in August wrote a letter calling for the introspection within the organization and introduction of culture of election within the set-up.

About 20 of them met Sonia at her residence on Saturday. Several other leaders were present on the occasion.  

Prominent among the 23 who were present at the meeting included party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Shashi Tharoor, Anand Sharma, Bhupendra Singh Hooda, Prithviraj Chavan etc.

The meeting which lasted for about four hours discussed the issue of leadership and other organizational matters. According to reports there was free and frank discussion on all the issues.

When asked about whether Rahul Gandhi would once again take over as the President of the party, former Union minister Pawan Bansal said that the process is going on and soon everything would be clear. He said that there was no objection from any one on the name of Rahul Gandhi.   

When the news of the letter written by Group of 23 got leaked in the media ahead of the Congress Working Committee meeting in August, both Sonia and Rahul were extremely upset. Some loyalists of the Gandhi family even went on to say that these leaders can go and join any party they like, even the BJP.

Political observers are of the view that now Sonia Gandhi, who is working as a stop gap arrangement, wants the deadlock to be resolved.

As she is not in the best of her health and Rahul reluctant to take over as the leader of the party there were even speculations that someone else may be trusted with the responsibility of the party, provided everyone agrees on the name. Rahul had resigned after the May 2019 Lok Sabha election defeat of the party.

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