Amidst a deep sense of gloom that has descended on the Congress following its disastrous performance in the just concluded Assembly elections and as voices of dissent with the present scheme of things in the party threaten to get louder, party president Sonia Gandhi has convened a meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Sunday to discuss the poll debacle.
The highest decision making body of the Congress will meet at 4 pm at the party headquarters in the national capital. The meeting comes barely three days after the results of the elections in five states were announced, and the party yet again failed to succeed at the hustings.
The party lost Punjab, where it had its government, to the Aam Aadmi Party, and failed to wrest back Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur from the BJP.
The meeting comes in the midst of growing despair in the CWC over its continued failure in elections. The party is now in power on its own only in two states and has not won an election since 2019. In the spotlight is the role of the Gandhi siblings Rahul and Priyanka who had led the party from the front in the just concluded polls.
The growing restlessness in the party with regard to the failure to set in motion changes in its functioning, organisational structure and strategising for elections has shown most acutely in the dissent voiced by the ‘Group of 23’ leaders, who had in August 2020 written to Sonia Gandhi seeking intra-party reforms, elections at every level in the party and emphasised on the need for a full-time party president.
An informal meeting of some of the G-23 leaders was held at the Delhi residence of party veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad last evening. Azad and senior leader Anand Sharma, who is also a part of the G23 group, are members of the CWC. It is learnt that while there may not be a direct attack on Rahul who has been functioning as the de facto party chief, the leaders may call for accountability to be fixed for the electoral debacle and also demand greater democracy in decision making in the party.
There has been great unease amongst a section of leaders in the party over the manner in which decisions are being taken. Especially with regard to the Punjab poll debacle, there is a renewed criticism of the Gandhi siblings for the way in which they effected a change of leadership in the state months ahead of elections.
The poll debacle comes months before the party’s process to elect its new president is to culminate, and the need for the new party chief to be elected with greater urgency could be stressed upon in the meeting.
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