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As Rahul Refuses To Be At Helm, Congress Looks For Non-Gandhi Chief

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By: Anand Singh | NEWDELHI
Updated: August 20, 2022 18:01
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With the Congress organizational elections approaching, the party is abuzz with speculations on who will lead the party in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections against the backdrop of Rahul Gandhi’s reluctance to return to the top post.

According to reliable party sources, Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi had asked his son Rahul about his decision to lead the party in July end. “However, after a week of deliberations, Rahul refused to lead the party,” the source said.

Rahul quit the top post of the party after its debacle in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, when he spearheaded the Congress campaign across the country. While resigning from the party post, Rahul also advocated for a non-Gandhi family chief for Congress. However, the party leaders persuaded Sonia Gandhi to lead the party as its interim party chief. The election process of the Congress is to be completed between August 20 and September 20.

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During the Udaipur convention, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury asked Rahul to assume the top post. However, he told him that he will think and then diverted the issue. The party leaders then discussed the issue in front of Sonia Gandhi during the Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir in May this year, but he again refused the offer.

A party source said that during the party’s protest on August 5 this year over inflation, when several Congress leaders were detained and taken to Kingsway Camp in the Civil Lines area of the city, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and veteran party leader Digvijaya Singh asked Rahul to take up the top post. However, Rahul, who was holding a can of cold drink in his hand, crushed it; and did not respond to Singh’s request. To this, Singh told Rahul “if you do not take up the top post, then the party will get divided”.

Following Rahul’s refusal to return to the top post, the party leaders have also started trying to prod the senior leaders to take up the top job. According to party sources, the names of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath were also discussed. However, both have refused to take up the top position.

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The party source said that even the names of Mukul Wasnik, Kumari Selja, and KC Venugopal are also being discussed if Rahul remains adamant about his decision. They may also request Sonia Gandhi to continue as party chief till the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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