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CWC Meet: Sonia Gandhi calls herself full-time Congress President, urges discipline among cadre

In her opening remarks at first physical meeting of the CWC — Congress’ top decision-making body — since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sonia Gandhi said she appreciated frankness and there was no need to speak to her through media, perhaps, referring to letters and comments by the 'G-23' group of dissenting leaders

October 16, 2021 / 01:01 PM IST
Under the leadership of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the Congress Working Committee meeting began on October 16, at the AICC HQ, New Delhi. (Image source: Congress media cell)

Under the leadership of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the Congress Working Committee meeting began on October 16, at the AICC HQ, New Delhi. (Image source: Congress media cell)


Congress’ interim President Sonia Gandhi on October 16 underlined the role of unity, self-control, and discipline in the revival of the party as she indirectly took on the 'G-23' group of leaders who have been seeking organisational overhaul in the party for over a year now.

In her opening remarks during the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting that began in Delhi, Sonia Gandhi also said that a schedule for full-fledged organisational elections will also be announced soon.

“The entire organization wants a revival of the Congress. But this requires unity and keeping the Party’s interests paramount. Above all, it requires self-control and discipline," Gandhi said.

Calling herself a “full-time and hand-on Congress President”, Sonia Gandhi said she appreciated frankness and there was no need to speak to her through media, perhaps, referring to letters and comments released to press by the G-23 members.

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“I am, if you allow me, to say so, full time and hand on Congress President,”  she said.

The first physical meeting of the CWC, Congress’ top decision-making body, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has been convened after demands from some quarters within the party to discuss important issues, including some defections in the recent past.

READ: Can Priyanka Gandhi prevent a possible split in the Congress?

“I have always appreciated frankness. There is no need to speak to me through media. So, let us all have a free and honest discussion. But what should get communicated outside the four walls of this room is the collective decision of the CWC,” she said.

The G-23 leaders have been demanding the convening of the CWC with Kapil Sibal last month wondering who in the party was taking decisions in the absence of a full-time president and asserting that G23 leaders’ grouping is "not a Jee Huzur 23".

Former leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had also written to the Congress president to convene a meeting of the CWC soon. In the Saturday's meeting, sources, however, said, Azad remarked that nobody questioned Sonia Gandhi's leadership.

The meeting also comes amid rumblings within the Congress’ state units such as in Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan where the party is in power.

Sonia Gandhi said she was acutely conscious of the fact that she has been interim Congress President ever since the CWC, asked her to return in the capacity in 2019.

“We had thereafter, you may recall, finalised a roadmap for electing a regular President by June 30, 2021.But the second wave of COVID-19 overtook the country and the deadline was extended indefinitely by the CWC in the meeting held on May 10, 2021. Today is the occasion for bringing clarity once and for all. A schedule for full-fledged organisational elections is before you. General secretary, organisation, Venugopal ji will brief you on the entire process later,” she said.

Sources said the elections for Congress president to be held in September 2022.  A decision to this effect is likely to be announced after the CWC meeting.

Also, read: Plan systematically for 2024 Lok Sabha polls: Sonia Gandhi to Opposition parties

The party in its CWC meeting held on January 22 had decided that the Congress would have an elected president by June 2021, but the same was deferred at the May 10 CWC meet in the wake of the COVID-19 situation.

She also mentioned the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in which eight people lost their lives, including four farmers who were allegedly run over by an SUV belonging to the convoy of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra. Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra has been arrested on by the Uttar Pradesh Police in connection with the mowing down of the four farmers.

"The shocking incidents at Lakhimpur-Kheri recently betrays the mindset of BJP, how it perceives Kisan Andolan, how it has been dealing with this determined struggle by Kisans to protect their lives and livelihoods," she said.

The October 3 violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri has triggered a political slugfest with the Opposition parties trying to corner the Yogi Adityanath-led government even as the chief minister  promised to punish the guilty.
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