Sonia Gandhi appointed new Congress President

Sonia, Rahul Gandhi pull out of panels to choose Congress chief

Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi not part of groups formed to elect new party chief

The announcement was made Saturday night after Congress Working Committee (CWC) accepted Rahul Gandhi's resignation during its second meeting of the day.

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda also welcomed Sonia's appointment as party's interim president.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi recused themselves from the consultation process saying they they can not be part of it as they have been Congress presidents in the past and would not like the opinion of the party leaders to be influenced in any manner. The group for eastern region included AICC general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal, ex-Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi and former Union minister Kumari Selja.

Under the decision taken by the party's highest decision-making body, Sonia Gandhi will the eastern region group, Singh the southern group, Rahul the western region, Priyanka the north region and Patel the northeast region.

At the crucial meeting, the report of five regional groups formed for wider consultation on the issue was supposed to be placed, with sources saying there was a consensus on Rahul Gandhi continuing as party chief. "No one mentioned Mukul Wasnik, Sushil Kumar Shinde or Mallikarjun Kharge", said one of the leaders. "The fate of the Congress and the Gandhi family have been intertwined for several decades", he said.

At that time, Jyotiraditya Scindia requested Rahul Gandhi to reconsider his decision to step down, to which he replied that he was not escaping from responsibilities but would work with more dedication for the party under a new President. They asked me for an alternative, but I said there is none.

When reporters told her that her name is present in the five region-wise groups formed to hold consultations, she said, "Rahul and I can not participate in the election of the new party chief".

The senior BJP leader also highlighted the need for Congress to select a leader through a "democratic process". "For the next few days, I will be based in my Lok Sabha constituency, #Wayanad that has been ravaged by floods".

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had in July said that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would be the right choice for the post of Congress President, further adding that if the outgoing party chief Rahul Gandhi suggests Priyanka's name for the top post, the party would extend its full support.

Some leaders even threatened to sit at home rather than attend party meetings under a non-Gandhi.

As the CWC members met at around 9 pm at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi, Rahul Gandhi arrived late.

A number of partymen have expressed their opinion in public that the delay in selecting the new Congress chief is harming the party.

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