Rahul Gandhi to meet leaders on state polls on June 27-28

The Asian Age.  | Sreeparna Chakrabarty

India, Politics

Gandhi had said last week that he would not continue and even asserted that he will have no role in selecting the next Congress president.

Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: Exactly a month after its Lok Sabha poll debacle and Rahul Gandhi’s subsequent decision to quit as party president, the Congress Party on Monday took baby steps towards getting back on its feet with Mr Gandhi deciding to call meetings on June 27-28 with leaders of all state units where Assembly polls are due. The party also made efforts to set its house in order in Uttar Pradesh by dissolving all district units and setting up a three-member panel to look into complaints of gross indiscipline during the general election.

The party is also likely to hold another meeting of the Congress Working Committee next week, sources said. At the last CWC on May 25, Mr Gandhi told members of his decision to quit, asking them to find his replacement. The Congress senior leadership, however, insisted on his continuance and even met once to urge him to continue, besides reviewing preparations for the Assembly polls.

However, Mr Gandhi had said last week that he would not continue and even asserted that he will have no role in selecting the next Congress president.

It is in this context that the meetings with the Congress state units of  Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, where Assembly elections are due in October, and of Delhi, which goes to the polls next year, assume some significance as it might indicate Mr Gandhi’s decision to continue as party president till the Assembly elections.

Sources, however, said it was on the urging of his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, AICC general secretary in charge of UP (East) that Mr Gandhi agreed to hold the meetings as the state polls were just four months away.

Ms Vadra, along with her UP (West) counterpart, Jyotiraditya Scindia, has initiated a complete overhaul of the UP state unit. The AICC has given its nod for the dissolution of all district units of the party, and set up a two-member team to oversee election preparations in all Assembly seats in eastern and western Uttar Pradesh, where the Assembly bypolls are scheduled to take place.

It also decided to constitute a three-member disciplinary committee to look into complaints of gross indiscipline in the recent Lok Sabha polls, AICC general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal said in a statement.

Ajay Kumar Lallu, leader of the Congress Legislative Party, was appointed in-charge for making organisational changes in UP (East) for a defined period, while Mr Scindia will announce the name of the person who will be in charge of making organisational changes in UP (West), the statement added.

Byelections are due for 11 Assembly seats in UP after the respective MLAs were elected to Parliament. Out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the Congress could manage to win only Rae Bareli. Even party chief Rahul Gandhi lost to Union minister Smriti Irani from his family stronghold of Amethi.