CWC meeting soon to decide on new Congress chief

New Delhi: The leadership crisis in the Congress after party chief Rahul Gandhi offered to step down following the Lok Sabha drubbing may end soon as the party is all set to call a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting to decide on the new President.

Senior party sources told IANS that the meeting of the CWC – the party’s top decision- making body – will be called in the next few days, after getting a nod from the party chief.

The development comes a day after all the five Congress Chief Ministers met Gandhi at his residence and sought to persuade him to continue as the party chief.

The party source said that names of former Union Home Minister and senior Maharashtra leader Sushilkumar Shinde or Karnataka leader Mallikarjuna Kharge, the leader of the party in the previous Lok Sabha, are being considered for the top party post.

On Saturday, Kharge, who is also the party’s in-charge for Maharashtra, had, along with Shinde, General Secretary K.C. Venugopal, party’s Maharashtra secretary in-charge Sonal Patel, Manikrao Thackrey, former MP Nana Patole, Rajya Sabha MP Hussain Dalwai, state leader Mukul Wasnik, met Gandhi at his residence and discussed the leadership issue and the coming Maharashtra Assembly elections.

Meanwhile, the party source also indicated that the number of General Secretaries and Secretaries will also shrink this time.

Gandhi had offered to step down as the party chief on May 25, during the CWC meeting following the party’s dismal performance in Lok Sabha elections, where it could manage to get only 52 out of 542 seats. He had himself lost from Amethi, his family pocket borough, to Union Minister Smriti Irani by a margin of 55,000 votes. He, however, was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kerala’s Wayanad.

Earlier in the day, scores of Congress workers and activists sat on indefinite strike at the party office demanding Gandhi to take back his resignation. Even an upset Delhi Congress worker identified as Hamid Khan tried to climb on a tree and hang himself. However, he was soon forcibly brought down by the Delhi Police personnel, who were deployed there. He was taken to Tughlaq Road police station.