Congress to select new president next year, senior leaders want Rahul Gandhi as chief

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The Congress on Saturday announced that the election for the party’s next president will be held between August 21 and September 20, 2022, PTI reported. Party General Secretary KC Venugopal announced the decision at the Congress Working Committee meeting in Delhi.

Sonia Gandhi has been the interim Congress chief since her son and MP Rahul Gandhi resigned from the post in 2019, following a huge defeat in the General Elections that year.

Venugopal said that the party leaders and workers want Rahul Gandhi to become the president again, NDTV reported.

Chief ministers of Punjab, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, and former Defence Minister AK Antony have also urged Rahul Gandhi to reclaim the party president’s position.

“Everybody agreed unanimously… whether he [Rahul Gandhi] will become [the president] or not is up to him,” said senior Congress leader Ambika Soni, F10 News reported. “Everybody is of the opinion that Rahul Gandhi should become the party president.”

Meanwhile, the Congress Working Committee also approved organisational polls at various levels, according to PTI.

Between July 21, 2022 and August 20, 2022, elections will be held for Pradesh Congress Committee presidents, executives, vice presidents and treasurers. During this time, the All India Congress Committee members will also be elected by the Pradesh Congress Committee general body.

The Congress Working Committee also passed resolutions on the political situation of India, inflation, and farmers’ issues.

“We do so and call upon all democratic parties and forces to join hands to resolutely oppose the Modi government in order to protect the values on which our country was founded and to advance the causes of the people,” the resolution passed by the committee said, according to India Today.

The resolution further noted that Indian economy was a matter of concern as several sectors are struggling with recovery during the coronavirus pandemic, The Indian Express reported.

“The jobs that were lost during the recession and the pandemic have not been recovered; the micro and small units that were shut down have not been re-started…,” the resolution stated. “The country’s financial situation is in terrible shape.”

The party also noted that farmers have been agitating against the Centre’s agricultural laws for 10 months, and yet the “arrogant” government has refused to initiate talks.

“[The government] has stood as a mere bystander, while the police and rogue elements in the BJP have unleashed violence upon them,” the resolution stated. “The tragic incident at Lakhimpur Kheri is a clear example of official support to the attempt to suppress the voice of the farmers.”

The Congress said it has noted the “state-sponsored” attacks on the minorities in India, in order to “intimidate them and deny them their rights”.

The party in its resolution also condemned the terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and rued the deaths of citizens. Seven civilians were killed in the Union Territory in October.

“The way forward is restoration of full statehood and holding democratic elections,” Congress said in its resolution. Centre had abolished Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 on August 5, 2019.

Congress noted the threat to security in Assam and Mizoram. The states share a 164.6-km-long border, which has long been a cause of dispute. Tensions escalated along the border on July 26 after reports of firing and clashes between the police of the two states emerged.

“Inter-state disputes have flared up suddenly driving fear in the minds of the people living in the border villages,” the resolution said.

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, in her opening address to the Congress Working Committee meeting, had criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre for its failure on various matters, including foreign policy, price rise and the farmers’ protest.

This was the first physical meeting of the Congress Working Committee since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. It was attended by 57 members, according to PTI.

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