Sonia Gandhi, President of the Indian National Congress, will schedule a meeting with “dissenting” Congress leaders soon, according to reports. Members involved will include the signatories who had written a controversial letter to the party earlier this year, urging for an organisational and leadership reform, along the claim that Congress had seen a “steady decline” over the years. Sources suggest her son and party leader Rahul Gandhi might also be in attendance.
According to a report by The Print, the meeting between Gandhi and the Congress “rebels” is due to take place on December 19, Saturday, at her New Delhi residence. This will reportedly be her first in-person meeting since her return from Goa, where the 74-year-old had relocated amid rising health concerns owing to Delhi’s pollution. Attendees at the meeting will include some of the 23 Congress leaders who had sought “full and active leadership” within the party in August, through a letter that created a national furore.
About The Controversial Congress Letter
NDTV reports that former Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath was “key” in setting up the meeting between dissenting party members and Gandhi. Quoting sources, the report says he “has backed the cause of the so-called dissident leaders, who had expressed concern over the party’s downslide.”
The controversial letter had praised the Gandhis for their work for the party but also asked for a more public and full-time leader. Signatories to the letter included several senior members like the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad; party MPs and former Union Ministers Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor among others.
Expectations From The Meeting On Saturday
Congress, formed 135 years ago in 1885, has reportedly been facing an internal crisis in this past few years with many leaders either leaving the party or calling out the Gandhis for lack of leadership.
About the meeting on the weekend, a source told The Print, “She (Gandhi) hasn’t really met many leaders this year. Most of her meetings have been virtual, so she has decided to now make a more active approach to meet (party) leaders. She is only meeting a few leaders to discuss party affairs. Some of these leaders also happen to be letter signatories.”