Decision on new Congress chief may take time

Amid growing chorus for younger leadership, the wait for a Congress president is likely to take a bit longer than expected, with Congress Working Committee (CWC) unlikely to meet on Wednesday as speculated, while senior leaders continued their consultations on a way out.

While there was no clarity on the leadership question, veteran leader Karan Singh on Monday suggested that a CWC should be called “without delay” and suggested a mechanism that would “enable the introduction of younger people into positions of authority.”

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too said that Rahul Gandhi’s successor should be from the younger lot.

CWC meeting

Sources said a CWC meeting would be called only after a broad consensus is arrived at a possible name for the president post and the modality to be adopted.

What the leaders want to avoid in the CWC is a vertical division over the question of leadership and that is why they want to zero in on a name, a senior leader said.

Earlier, there were reports about the likelihood of CWC meeting on Wednesday to decide on the leadership question, after Rahul publicised his resignation letter and left it to others to finalise a succession plan.

While Rahul has kept himself out of the process of choosing his successor, his decision to visit Amethi and attend a meeting of party leaders there on Wednesday also had a bearing on the decision not to call a meeting on the same day.

Rahul has so far not visited Amethi — which he represented between 2004 and 2019 — since May 23, after he was defeated by Union minister Smriti Irani in the Lok Sabha elections.

Several young leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia and Milind Deora among others had submitted their resignation following Rahul’s quitting, which is seen by a section in the party as an escalation of the fight between the youth brigade and the old guard.

In a statement on Monday, Karan Singh called for an immediate meeting of the CWC under the chairmanship of former prime minister Manmohan Singh, saying he was “aghast” to see the “confusion and disorientation” within the party after Rahul’s resignation.

He said Rahul should not have been “pressurised” to continue as party chief.

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