CWC meeting LIVE Updates: Sonia Gandhi will be interim Congress chief till party finds alternative, say reports

18:28 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

CWC presser will be held at 6.45 pm

18:19 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

CWC meeting ends, Sonia Gandhi to continue as interim president, say reports

The CWC has drawn to an end after nearly seven hours, said reports. Although the Congress has not released its resolution, reports  (read here, here  and here) indicate that Sonia Gandhi is likely to continue as the Congress interim president till the next AICC meeting.

17:52 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Ramesh Chennithala back Rahul Gandhi for top post

 
Former Kerala PCC president Ramesh Chennithala reiterated his support to Rahul Gandhi as the Congress party president. Taking to Twitter, Chennithala said, “The Gandhi family has been the guiding light of Congress for years and it should remain so. The Congress
 needs Rahul Gandhi to be back at the helm of affairs as Congress president.” 

17:32 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Ambika Soni calls for action against dissenters

According to reports, Congress leader Ambika Soni called for action against the dissenting leaders. However, the signatories of the letter calling for organisational reform reportedly said that they were ready to face action but would continue working for the party.

17:18 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

RPN Singh bats for Sonia Gandhi to continue as Congress president

According to reports, Congress leader RPN Singh urged Sonia Gandhi to continue as the party president during the CWC. According to India Today, RPN Singh said that he has learnt a lot from Sonia Gandhi and would like her to continue at her post.  “When we contested Jharkhand polls, she had just taken over as interim chief, but she gave it her all and we won,” he said.

17:09 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Congress must resolve internal matter to keep divisive forces away: D Raja

Calling the current leadership crisis in the Congress an internal matter, CPI general secretary D Raja said  that the party must resolve the issue at the earliest to fend off ‘divisive forces’ like the BJP and RSS. “It’s their internal matter… However, Congress must resolve this at the earliest to keep divisive forces like BJP and RSS away,” News18 quotes Raja as saying. ” Congress is a very old party with a long history backing it,” he added. 

16:49 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Nobody can question my loyalty to Congress, says Wasnik

“I owe a lot to Sonia Gandhi. Nobody can question my loyalty to the Congress party,” Hindustan Times quotes Congress leader Mukul Wasnik, who was among the signatories of a letter demanding sweeping changes in the Congress, as saying.

16:36 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Look at past conflicts in the Congress:

The Congress has witnessed dissent and splits in the past.  In 1998. there was a rebellion against Sitaram Kesri who was then heading the party. That rebellion was  reportedly orchestrated install Sonia Gandhi as the president. In in the early 1990s also, there was a rebellion against another non-Gandhi. The rebellion – against Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao – resulted in N D Tiwari and Arjun Singh breaking away and launching a new party.

In 1969, the tussle between then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the old guard known as the ‘Syndicate’ reached a tipping point as Indira backed independent candidate VV Giri in the Presidential election. The party’s official candidate, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, lost and the party split after then Congress president S Nijalingappa expelled Indira Gandhi.

16:11 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Offered to resign in response to other Congress leaders,  says Ghulam Nabi Azad

 
Ghulam Nabi Azad took to Twitter to clarify that Rahul Gandhi never said that the letter of dissent was written at the behest of the BJP. Clarifying his remarks, he said that “some Congress person” had made the allegations and it was in that  context that he had offered to resign.
“It is most unfortunate that some colleagues (outside CWC) have accused us of collusion with BJP, and if those people can prove this allegation, I will resign”.

15:52 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

No issue with Rahul or Sonia, says Ghulam Nabi Azad

 
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the “collusion with BJP” remark was never made by Rahul Gandhi and said that he had no issues with either Rahul or Sonia. “Rahul Gandhi never said it, neither in CWC nor outside, that this letter (to Sonia Gandhi about party leadership) was written in collusion with BJP,” India Today quotes him as saying. “Resignation offer on others’ charge. Rahul Gandhi didn’t attack us. No issues with him or Sonia Gandhi”, Azad told NDTV.

15:35 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Convince Rahul if your health doesn’t permit, Siddaramaih tells Sonia

 
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday urged interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi to convince Rahul Gandhi to take up the party’s top post if her health does not permit for full-fledged dedication.The Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly requested Sonia Gandi to continue as AICC president. “And if you feel that your health may not permit for full-fledged dedication, I urge you to convince Shri Rahul Gandhi to take up the position,” Siddaramaiah said in a letter to Sonia Gandhi.
 
PTI

15:28 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Congress is finished, says BJP’s Uma Bharti

 
“Gandhi-Nehru family’s existence is in crisis, their political dominance is over, Congress is finished.. so who stays in what position hardly matters now… Congress should return to the real Gandhi, the real ‘swadeshi’ Gandhi without any foreign element,” said BJP leader Uma Bharti

15:17 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Likely outcomes of the CWC meet

As the leadership issue is discussed in the ongoing CWC meet, here are the few possible outcomes:

  • Sonia Gandhi could agree to continue as the interim party chief. The party can then choose a president through elections or mutual consensus till the time her full tenure is completed.
  • If Sonia Gandhi refuses to continue in the post, party members can ask Rahul Gandhi to yet again take up the post.
  • If both Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi refuse to take up the post, then Sonia Gandhi can play the role of the interim chief till a non-Gandhi Congress president is selected.
  • If Sonia Gandhi refuses to continue as the interim chief, the role can be taken over by one of the senior Congress leaders, such as Manmohan Singh, AK Antony or Mallikarjun Kharge. In the meantime, elections can be held for the top post.

15:06 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Owaisi dubs alleged ‘collusion’ remark against Ghulam Nabi Azad ‘poetic justice’

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi called Ghulam Nabi Azad’s offer to quit the party if he is found guilty of colluding with the BJP “poetic justice”.

Taking to Twitter, the MP wrote, Poetic Justice: Ghulam Nabi Azad, you had accused me of exactly this. Now you’re accused of the same. 45 years of ghulami for this? Now it’s proven that anyone opposing Janeudhari leadership will be branded B-Team. I hope Muslims now know the high cost of loyalty to Congress.”

14:34 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Ahmed Patel calls for Rahul Gandhi to be made party chief

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said during the CWC meet that Rahul Gandhi should be elevated to the post of the party chief, which he stepped down from last year, India Today reported.

Patel was also joined by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in criticising the dissenters who wrote the letter seeking “honest introspection” into the party’s decline.

14:18 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

No one can save Congress, Shivraj Singh Chouhan says amid collusion allegations

After Congress leaders exchanged barbs on Twitter over Rahul Gandhi’s alleged “collusion with BJP” remark, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan told ANI, “When (Jyotiraditya) Scindia raised his voice, he was accused of colluding with BJP. Now when leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kapil Sibal are demanding full-time party chief, they’re also being accused of colluding with BJP. No one can save such a party.”

14:03 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Kapil Sibal removes tweet responding to collusion allegations

Shortly after posting a tweet that said that he has never issued a statement favouring the BJP in 30 years, Kapil Sibal deleted it, following a clarification from Rahul Gandhi.

Randeep Singh Surjewala had also tweeted after Sibal responded to allegations that signatories of a letter written to Sonia Gandhi advising against spreading “false media doscourse”.

13:43 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Randeep Surjewala, Divya Spandana hit out at dissident leaders

Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala defended Rahul Gandhi after Kapil Sibal responded to allegations of collusion made against signatories of a dissident letter. He urged Sibal to not spread”false media discourse”.

Leader Divya Spandana went ahead and accused the dissident leaders of leaking not just the letter but also the discussions occurring during the ongoing CWC meet.

13:20 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Will resign if guilty of collusion with BJP: Ghulam Nabi Azad

Senior Congress leader and leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said that he will resign from the party if he is found guilty of colluding with the BJP, sources told PTI. Azad, who was subject to harsh criticism while reading a dissenting letter sent to Sonia Gandhi a few weeks ago, was responding to Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of the signatories.

13:01 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Never made a statement favouring BJP in 30 years, says Kapil Sibal

Responding to Rahul Gandhi’s remark that those who signed the letter seeking “sweeping changes” in the party was written in collusion with the BJP, senior leader Kapil Sibal said that he has never issued a statement in favour of the saffron party in the “last 30 years”.

In a tweet expressing dismay over Gandhi’s statement made during the CWC meet, Sibal mentioned his role in defending the party when it was under threat in Rajasthan and Manipur.

12:41 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

CWC platform for discussion: Rahul Gandhi hits out at signatories of letter

Criticising the leaders who signed a letter seeking leadership changes in the party, Rahul Gandhi said that the CWC is the forum for discussion of issues and hit out at the leaders for making it public through the media.

12:22 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Rahul Gandhi hits out at letter seeking organisational changes

Stating that the letter seeking “sweeping changes” in the Congress comes at a time when the party is putting up a fight in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and Sonia Gandhi was admitted to the hospital, Rahul Gandhi said that he is deeply hurt, CNN-News18 reported.

12:11 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Manmohan Singh, AK Antony criticise letter seeking ‘sweeping changes’

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leader AK Antony criticised the letter signed by some leaders, which sought a leadership change.

Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi handed over a letter of response to KC Venugopal, sources told PTI.

12:03 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Begin deliberations to choose party chief, says Sonia Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi asked CWC members to “begin deliberations towards the process of transition to relieve her from the duty of party president”, sources told PTI.

Meanwhile, Manmohan Singh urged her to complete the full session.

11:46 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Meeting begins; Sonia Gandhi ‘determined to resign’, say reports

The Congress Working Committee meeting started behind schedule, with leaders like Manmohan Singh, Captain Amarinder Singh, Ashok Gehlot and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in attendance.

Sonia Gandhi started the meeting by requesting members to relieve her of the current role of party chief. She also spoke raised concerns about the India-China standoff in Ladakh.

11:33 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

BJP leader compares Congress to ‘school where headmaster’s child tops’

Speaking to reporters ahead of the CWC meet, BJP leader and Madhya Pradesh Cabinet minister Narottam Mishra remarked that there are many eleigible candidates for the post of the party chief, “like Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Raihan Vadra and Miraya Vadra”. “Congress members should understand that Congress is like the school where only headmaster’s child tops the class,” he said.

11:26 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Party echoes support for Sonia Gandhi

As leaders started joining the video-conference CWC meet, Congress leader Sachin Pilot acknowledged Sonia and Rahul Gandhi’s “sacrifice for the greater good of the people and the party”.

Meanwhile, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh said Gandhis were the only “recognisable face” of the Congress, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Singh, in his statement, said there was a bid by “some Congress leaders” to “challenge” the Gandhi family leadership of the party. He added that this was not the time to raise such an issue, given the need for a strong opposition.

“We must not forget that in spite of the canard against Smt Sonia Gandhi, she led the Congress Party to victory in 2004 and made Atal Bihari Vajpayee sit at home,” Kamal Nath, who is the Madhya Pradesh Congress chief, tweeted.

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said, “The family that has sacrificed for the country’s independence and thereafter is well known. I do not agree with what is coming in the media. I cannot even imagine a Congress without Nehru Gandhi family.”

11:10 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Party workers gather outside headquarters

Ahead of the Congress Working Committee meet, party workers raised slogans outside the New Delhi headquarters, demanding that the chief should be from Gandhi family.

Congress worker Jagdish Sharma said, “We want Party President from Gandhi family only. Party will be destroyed & break away if any outsider is made President.”

11:06 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

23 senior Congress leaders demand ‘sweeping changes’ in letter

Twenty-three senior Congress leaders, including five former Chief Ministers, Congress Working Committee members, sitting MPs, and former Union Ministers, had written a letter calling for sweeping changes, and organisational elections from the block level till the CWC. Acknowledging the rise of the BJP, the letter noted that the fall in support base and losing the confidence of the youth are matters of serious concern.

11:06 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

23 senior Congress leaders demand ‘sweeping changes’ in letter

Twenty-three senior Congress leaders, including five former Chief Ministers, Congress Working Committee members, sitting MPs, and former Union Ministers, had written a letter calling for sweeping changes, and organisational elections from the block level till the CWC. Acknowledging the rise of the BJP, the letter noted that the fall in support base and losing the confidence of the youth are matters of serious concern.

10:57 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Sanjay Jha supports party leaders’ support to Rahul, Sonia Gandhi

Sanjay Jha, who was sacked as Congress spokesperson, tweeted ahead of the Congress Working Committee meet questioning why leaders across the country were not seeking a change in leadership. “We lose two Lok Sabha elections back to back both being the worst defeats of the Congress. It is followed by several state election losses. We surrender states in power back to the BJP. Not one meeting to debate failure in six years. And still some people don’t want change?” he wrote.

10:32 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Sonia Gandhi offers to step down ahead of 11 am CWC meet

Interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Sunday said that she is “not willing” to continue at the post. Her response came after a letter signed by 23 senior party leaders emphasised the need for a president that is active in field”.

10:28 (IST)

Congress CWC meeting today Latest Updates

Jammu and Kashmir Congress voices support for Rahul Gandhi

In a press release issue shortly before the CWC meeting, the Jammu and Kashmir Congress Committee said that it “unwaveringly” supports Rahul Gandhi as the party’s chief, “if there is any change in Congress president”.

CWC Meeting LATEST Updates: The CWC has drawn to an end after nearly seven hours, said reports. Although the Congress has not released its resolution, reports indicate that Sonia Gandhi is likely to continue as the Congress interim president till the next AICC meeting.

Ghulam Nabi Azad took to Twitter to clarify that Rahul Gandhi never said that the letter of dissent was written at the behest of the BJP.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said during the CWC meet that Rahul Gandhi should be elevated to the post of the party chief, which he stepped down from last year.

Kapil Sibal, who responded to Rahul Gandhi after the latter’s alleged collusion with BJP” remark at the CWC meet, has now deleted the tweet, clarifying that the former Congress president never made the remarks.

Defending Rahul Gandhi after Kapil Sibal’s tweet, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala appealed against spreading “false media discourse” and stressed on the importance of “fighting the draconian Modi rule”.

Amid a debate over the leadership issue, top Congress leaders are holding a meet in New Delhi through video-conferencing on Monday to discuss the matter.

“A meeting of the Congress Working Committee will be held on Monday, the 24 August, 2020 at 11.00 am via video conferencing,” AICC general secretary KC Venugopal had said in a tweet.

All permanent and special invitees to the CWC were invited to the meeting, where the leadership issue is also likely to be discussed, besides the current political situation in the country.

There has been a clamour within a section of Congressmen for Rahul Gandhi to take over as the president of the grand old party again.

The CWC meet comes close on the heels of Congress president Sonia Gandhi completing a year as the interim party chief, a post she accepted last year after her son Rahul Gandhi stepped down.

A debate is again raging in the Congress over the uncertainty related to its leadership.

In an official media briefing two days ago, the Congress said its workers across the country want Rahul Gandhi to take charge of the party.

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