NEW DELHI: Braving protest from a section of Congress leadership, the Congress Working Committee meeting on Friday decided to put off the election of the party chief to June, by citing party’s pre-occupation with the campaign for the April-May Assembly elections in four states and one union territory.“There will be an elected Congress president in June”, AICC General Secretary organisation K C Venugopal said at a press conference after the CWC meeting. Rahul Gandhi, who quit as party chief after the pary debacle in last Lok Sabha polls in May 2019, is widely expected to be seeking a second tenure as party chief.The CWC decision meant two immediate things; that leadership amending the assurance it gave last August about holding these polls “within sis months”. Secondly, Sonia Gandhi’s interim presidentship getting extended by almost six more months.Sources said at the CWC meeting a heated argument took place over the timing of the organisational polls. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik (part of the 23 letter-writers who had sought polls and functional reforms) and P Chidambaram demanded immediate elections and stressed the time had come for the party to change its old style of functioning.With the change-seekers already a minority in the hand-picked CWC, leaders such as Ashok Gehlot, AK Antony, Oomman Chandy, Ambika Soni, Taroq Anwar among others came out in defence of the Gandhis-led party establishment and argued focussing on the upcoming Assembly elections and ongoing farmers agitation was more important and lamented those who keep demanding early organisational polls were only causing distraction to the party. Gehlot even asked why get so worked up with the timing of election of the Congress president when nobody was asking “how Amit shah and Nadda were elected as BJP chiefs”.Rahul Gandhi intervened to tactically play as an ‘uninterested party’ by saying “let us get over with” this organisational election matters even as he stressed the need for the party to stand by the agitating farmers.CWC also passed a resolution seeking a JPC probe into the controversy involving the leaked whataap chats of Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami. The CWC also resolved to hold various agitational programmes on farmers issue.
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