Busy fire-fighting in K’taka, Cong delays picking chief

Rahul Gandhi. (Image courtesy Twitter)

With Congress busy fire-fighting in Karnataka and Goa, the selection of a new party chief to succeed outgoing president Rahul Gandhi appears to have taken a backseat.

Top Congress leaders such as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjuna Kharge, have been pressed into action to make a final attempt to save the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka.

Nath, who has a reputation as an ace negotiator, is expected to stay in Bengaluru for a day and join the efforts to make the rebel legislators have a rethink on their decision to quit the party, that has pushed the coalition government on the brink.

AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal, in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka, has also focussed his energies on dealing with the political situation in the state, which has forced the Congress to put off the decision on Rahul's successor till there is clarity on the future of the coalition government in the state.

Congress remained a mute spectator in Goa as BJP walked away with 10 of its MLAs in the coastal state, including Leader of the Opposition Chandrakant Kavalekar, who was appointed as Deputy Chief Minister on Saturday.

Congress has been in a flux since the results of the Lok Sabha elections on May 23, having lost MLAs in Telangana to the TRS, and in Maharashtra and Goa to the BJP. Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil last month crossed over to the BJP and was inducted as a minister in the state cabinet.

Congress Working Committee (CWC) was expected to meet this past week to select an interim president to succeed Rahul, who quit the top post owning full responsibility for the Congress' defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.

Informal discussions were on among senior party leaders about Rahul's successor with Kharge emerging as the front-runner for the top post, before the party was confronted with the Karnataka crisis.

On Saturday, young Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Jitin Prasada and Deepender Hooda were closeted for discussions at Scindia's residence.

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