Sonia Gandhi is likely to step down as interim Congress president and is likely to be replace by veteran party leader Kamal Nath, sources within the party said. Kamal Nath, 74, met both Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi in New Delhi on Thursday triggering talks of leadership change in the grand old party.
According to sources, the Congress is working on a plan to overhaul the party which may see heads of several state units be replaced. A session of All India Congress Committee (AICC) may be convened in August.
Sonia Gandhi took over the command of the Congress in July 2019 after son Rahul decided to step down following the party humiliating loss in the Lok Sabha polls under his leadership. With Sonia Gandhi’s health limiting her involvement in party’s activities, demands have been raised from within the organisation for a full-time president.
The G-23 (Group 23) of veteran leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Shashi Tharoor, Kapil Sibal and Manish Tewari have put forth their view of a change in leadership on a multiple occasions.
Kamal Nath – Congress veteran, Gandhis’ confidante
Kamal Nath is considered to be a confidante of the Congress first family. He is said to have a stronghold inside the organisation and greater acceptability among the top leaders. In 2002, he was appointed as the general secretary of the Congress party. This was when Sonia Gandhi was still emerging as a leader and was faced with the challenge to defeat Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led BJP in the subsequent Lok Sabha polls. He is also considered a favourite of Rahul who served as the president of the Congress from December 2017 to July 2019.
A 9-time Parliamentarian from Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara, Nath was considered a Delhi politician who spent most of his life in the national capital. But he was appointed as the chief of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee in 2018 and sent to his home state to lead the party in assembly elections. He assumed the office of Chief Minister on December 17, 2018 and resigned on March 20, 2020 after he failed to safeguard his government following a rebellion by Jyotiraditya Scindia who defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 22 MLAs.