Days after a meeting of Congress Working Committee (CWC) in which the party's abysmal performance in the recently held Assembly polls in five states was termed as a "cause of serious concern", senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and some other members of the G-23 group will meet interim party president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi soon.
The time of the meeting is yet to be finalized. "After talking to Sonia Gandhi, we will fix the timing of the meeting (with Azad and other G-23 leaders) and inform about the same," Rahul Gandhi said, according to sources. Earlier, only Azad was scheduled to meet Sonia Gandhi. G-23 leaders, who have been calling for sweeping reforms in the grand old party, met on Wednesday to discuss the party's debacle in the recently concluded Assembly elections in five states - Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Goa.
Party leaders Kapil Sibal, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Anand Sharma, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor, Mani Shankar Aiyar, PJ Kurien, Preneet Kaur, Sandeep Dikshit and Raj Babbar were among those present. Former Haryana Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda met Rahul Gandhi on Thursday.
Hooda, a G 23 leader, was the first to reach out to the Congress High Command after the faction's meeting at Azad's residence in New Delhi over the poll drubbing. According to sources, Rahul Gandhi asked Hooda about the meeting of the G-23 leaders and their resolution. Hooda suggested elections of the Congress Working Committee and taking future decisions through discussions only in CWC as this was also mentioned by the G-23 group.
The former Haryana chief minister, in the meeting with Rahul Gandhi, also sought the appointment of an experienced person, who understands the politics of North India and is well verse with Hindi, after removing party General Secretary KC Venugopal from his post, sources informed. Hooda also sought clarity over who is making the decisions in the party and said that leaders get to know about big decisions of the party from the newspapers, highlighting the need to make decisions collectively. Hooda said that the G-23 leaders have not done any "anti-party activities" adding that the meeting of faction was held after informing Sonia Gandhi.
"We do not agree with everything (Shankersinh) Vaghela and (Kapil) Sibal have said," Hooda said after both of them had questioned the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. After the Congress' rout in five assembly polls, Sibal had given an interview to a newspaper calling for a leadership change in the party. In a statement released after the CWC meeting on Wes, the CWC had unanimously reaffirmed its faith in the leadership of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and requested her "to lead from the front, address the organisational weaknesses, effect necessary and comprehensive organisational changes in order to take on the political challenges".
Sonia Gandhi had on Tuesday sought the resignations of state party chiefs of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. The results of five assembly polls came as a shock to the Congress which was hoping to do well to revive its prospects for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and to fend off the emerging challenge from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress to replace it as the fulcrum of anti-BJP politics in the country. The party is slated to elect a new party chief later this year at the culmination of organisational elections.