Sonia Gandhi returns as Indian National Congress’ interim president

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NEW DELHI, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — Sonia Gandhi, the widow of India’s former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has returned as the interim president of the country’s main opposition party the Indian National Congress (INC).

The decision was taken late on Saturday night after a marathon meeting of the party’s highest decision-making body – the Congress Working Committee (CWC), following the resignation of erstwhile party president Rahul Gandhi owning responsibility for party’s debacle in the general elections this year.

Under Rahul’s leadership, the party could win a mere 52 parliamentary constituencies out of the total 542 that went to polls.

Rahul’s resignation came in more than a month ago. Several attempts were made by senior INC leaders to convince him to continue as the party president, but failed.

A resolution adopted by the CWC last night said that Sonia Gandhi would be the “Interim President” before a regular president is elected by the party’s general body – the All India Congress Committee (AICC).

“The CWC considered the views of state party presidents, legislature party leaders, AICC Secretaries and members of parliament. The CWC unanimously resolved that Rahul Gandhi should continue as Congress president, as desired by all who were consulted today, and requested him to accept this decision,” said the party’s resolution.

It added: “However, Rahul Gandhi declined to withdraw his resignation. Consequently, the CWC unanimously resolved to request Sonia Gandhi to take over as Interim President pending the election of a regular President by the AICC.”

Incidentally, Sonia has been the longest serving INC president. Before Rahul Gandhi took over as party’s chief in December 2017, Sonia served as the chief for 19 years since 1998.