The last time she became Congress president, the then Congress chief Sitaram Kesri was reportedly locked up in a bathroom in Congress headquarters at Akbar Road so he could not stop Sonia Gandhi from entering the office with her supporters to take over as the party president.
No such drama last night as after her son resigned from the post last month, he was quite adamant to be firm on his resignation. In fact, her son Rahul Gandhi had taken over the reins from her after she served as the party head for almost twenty years. While Rahul Gandhi was adamant that the party president’s post should not go to a Gandhi and should go to a younger leader, eventually his 72-year-old mother was made the leader again.
Sonia Gandhi will now serve as an ‘interim President’ after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) put up her name last evening. Prior to that, it was reported that the CWC had at first insisted that Rahul Gandhi takes back his resignation instead. That Congress cannot even think beyond the Gandhi family, Sonia Gandhi’s daughter and Rahul Gandhi’s sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is also Congress General Secretary and forayed into politics officially early this year, was also considered for the top post. Eventually late evening, Rahul Gandhi’s name was again floated as party president while mother Sonia works as ‘interim president’.
Late last night, the CWC accepted Rahul Gandhi’s resignation, a month after he officially resigned as party president, and Sonia was made the ‘interim president’. The proposal was moved by Ghulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram and Anand Sharma and backed by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
Sonia Gandhi, who is usually reluctant and unwilling to take over most posts but eventually relents due to public mood, gave in this time as well. If in 2004 she ‘gave up’ the post of prime minister by listening to her inner voice, this time she gave in and took up the top party post again to ‘help party out of this situation’. Sonia will hold on to the post of the party’s ‘interim’ president till full time elections are held within the AICC. Perhaps then she can pass on the baton to her daughter, Priyanka Gandhi, who is also a reluctant politician, much like rest of the family which always goes by the public mood.
As per reports, some within the Congress believe that a non-Gandhi as party president would ‘disintegrate’ the party. Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar reportedly said that he would sit at home if any ‘Tom, Dick or Harry’ whose names are floating will be made the party chief. Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora were some of the names in the fray for the party post.