Congress leader Kamal Nath’s meeting with party chief Sonia Gandhi today reinforced talk about his elevation to a top post, even working president, of the party.
But top Congress sources said after the meeting that there is no plan to appoint any working Congress president or vice president, as speculated.
Organisational elections to pick a new Congress president and members of the Congress Working Committee are likely to be announced soon, said sources, adding that the party leadership was not expected to make any such announcement during this process.
The sources also pointed out that Kamal Nath is currently Congress chief in Madhya Pradesh and also the leader of the state legislature party. Last year , his long-running feud with Jyotiraditya Scindia boiled over and led to his government in Madhya Pradesh collapsing after Mr Scindia switched to the BJP, taking a large number of Congress MLAs with him.
Kamal Nath, 74, is one of the senior most politicians in the Congress, is close to the Gandhis and has a good working relationship with leaders across parties. But more significantly, he has close ties with members of the “G-23” or the group of 23 “dissenters” in the Congress, who wrote to Sonia Gandhi last year calling for sweeping changes, including collective decision-making and “full-time, visible leadership”.
Sources say Sonia Gandhi is using Kamal Nath’s skills to reach out to the leaders who have been upset for some time.
The Congress’s internal elections have been put off thrice. In May, the party deferred the polls again on account of a spike in Covid cases in the second wave.
Reports suggest the Congress polls could be held after the monsoon session of parliament.
In January, Rahul Gandhi had said during a party meeting fraught with arguments: “Once and for all, finish it and move on.”
The last organizational elections were held in 1997.
Sonia Gandhi took over as interim president in 2019 after her son Rahul quit the post over the Congress’s national election drubbing.
Both have ruled themselves out as candidates. Rahul Gandhi has said a non-Gandhi should be given a chance.