June 9, 2023

The Congress, unravelling in several states after its national election debacle, has urged Sonia Gandhi to take charge as interim president to tide over the party’s bleakest hour. So far, the former Congress president had said no to the role that her son Rahul Gandhi has just relinquished, owning responsibility for the party’s abysmal show.

Asked by NDTV today about the possibility of taking over as interim Congress president, Sonia Gandhi was non-committal and did not rule it out.

The 72-year-old, who significantly slashed her political duties because of health problems, has told her close aides that it will not be possible for her to take on the top job even temporarily, that it would be a challenge.

Flailing after Rahul Gandhi’s resignation and firm refusal to reconsider it, many senior Congress leaders have called on Sonia Gandhi and pleaded with her to step in, say sources.

The party’s desperation has grown as it fights crises in state after state.

After several resignations last week in Karnataka, Sonia Gandhi intervened to stop at least one lawmaker from taking flight. She met with Sowmya Reddy, whose father Ramalinga Reddy, an old Congress warhorse, quit on Saturday. 

While it is trying to save its coalition in Karnataka against all odds, most of its lawmakers in Goa have quit and merged with the BJP, in a repeat of what happened in Telangana.

Rahul Gandhi’s exit has spurred a flurry of resignations across the country, including by several state unit chiefs.

Top leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia and Milind Deora have also quit.

So far, the Congress has failed to build consensus on a replacement for Rahul Gandhi. 

The steady stream of desertions have been enabled by an indecisive leadership and a vacuum at the very top.

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