Four more Congress state units join chorus, bat for Rahul as party chief

Party leaders in Kerala indicated that the state unit is in favour of Rahul taking up the post he had relinquished in 2019, after Congress’s drubbing in the General Election.

Former Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, told the media in Alappuzha that the general feeling in the party in Kerala is that Rahul Gandhi should take the party’s reins. “The state unit has not suggested any candidate. The massive turnout of people and party workers during the Bharat Jodho Yatra demonstrates the support for Rahul. It is up to Tharoor to speak out whether he is contesting to become the party’s national president,’’ he said.

Lok Sabha MP from Vadakara in Kerala and former Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president, K Muraleedharan, also spoke on similar lines. “Whoever contests to the post of the party president, only a person with the support of the Nehru (Gandhi) family will become the president. Our vote is for Rahul. See the crowd at the Yatra — If someone else was doing this, there would not have been such an impressive crowd,’’ said Muraleedharan, son of former CM, late K Karunakaran.

Leaders from the G-23 grouping have not found much support in the party’s Kerala unit. While former Rajya Sabha member P J Kurien has not been active in the party, another veteran Congressman, K V Thomas, who had raised a rebellion against Rahul, has been completely sidelined.

In Chandigarh, the Haryana unit (HPCC) passed two resolutions: one requesting Rahul to take over as party chief while considering “sentiments of all”, and a second empowering the Congress president to appoint PCC office-bearers.

Announcing the resolution, HPCC president Udai Bhan told the media, “The resolution to make Rahul Gandhi the party’s national president was unanimously passed. In the meeting, all of us agreed that we urge Rahul Gandhi to file nomination for the post of president.”

The PCCs in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Maharashtra and J&K have already passed similar resolutions.

In Ranchi, the party’s Jharkhand in-charge, Avinash Pandey said, “All our leaders in unanimity decided and passed a resolution that Rahul Gandhi should be AICC chief.” Stating that party leaders and workers in Jharkhand want Rahul as AICC president, PCC chief Rajesh Thakur said, “He should decide on PCC chiefs, too.”

Rahul is currently touring Kerala as part of the party’s Bharat Jodho Yatra. Rahul is unlikely to face any opposition in Kerala given the support he enjoys among party leaders in the state. Last week, KPCC met to select its new president and a resolution was moved in favour of the incumbent, K Sudhakaran, assigning the final decision to Sonia Gandhi.

In Goa, where the Congress recently saw eight of its 11 party MLAs join BJP, a similar resolution was passed in a meeting of the newly elected PCC in Panaji. In a statement, GPCC said that all elected and co-opted PCC members resolved that Rahul Gandhi should be “unanimously elected as president of AICC. He has a preeminent place in the Congress. He has been relentlessly and fearlessly fighting against the wrong policies and communal agenda [of the government]…”

In Chandigarh, former Haryana CM and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said: “The party will welcome its leader, Rahul Gandhi, and all those participating in the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra when it reaches Haryana. There will be an unprecedented presence of Congress workers to welcome the Yatra.”

On the occasion, the party’s state unit also finalised the list of 195 delegates to bolster its rank and file at the ground level.

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The resolution was passed at a meeting of new representatives and MLAs of HPCC under chairmanship of former MP Tarachand Bhagora, the Pradesh Returning Officer (PRO), Hooda, state unit chief Udai Bhan, HPCC working presidents, MLAs and senior leaders.

The proposal presented unanimously authorises the Congress president to nominate the HPCC president, vice-president, treasurer, executive member, state election committee and AICC members from the state. Senior leaders approved it and all delegates unanimously passed the resolution by raising their hands, it was informed.

With inputs from ENS in Ranchi and Panaji

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