When the names of Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Mukul Wasnik and Jyotiraditya Scindia were proposed at the sub-group discussions, very few hands came up in agreement. Worried at the prospect of a split in the party ranks, the Congress fell back on Sonia Gandhi to lead the party.
Party sources said Sonia was initially unwilling to accept the role of interim President, but she accepted after party leaders convinced her to take the post to keep the flock together. The party has been facing a serious leadership crisis post-2019 Lok Sabha election drubbing.
Sonia Gandhi was requested to lead the party out of its troubled times and help it make a comeback.
According to party sources, Sonia will “recast the current committee of party general secretaries” in the coming days.
The sources said that “Sonia Gandhi had led the party for over 19 years and all of us know she is capable of uplifting the morale of the party workers across the country”.
The name of Congress General Secretary and eastern Uttar Pradesh in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also cropped up during the discussion.
The party source said that Sonia Gandhi’s name was brought in as no consensus could be built on any other name, and all the CWC members proposed her name.
“Wasnik’s name, Scindia and Kharge’s names were discussed, but hardly one per cent of party leaders were in agreement. And they again requested Sonia to reconsider to take charge as interim President,” the source said.
According to sources, when Rahul Gandhi remained firm on quitting, party leader Ahmed Patel and some other seniors requested Sonia. They had earlier too approached her in May when Rahul had quit, but she had refused. In the evening on Saturday, they pressed her again, saying the party would split without her leadership. It is then that she relented.
While Sonia’s leadership will help keep the flock together, what is rankling some is that the Congress has missed a major chance to name a non-Gandhi as party chief.