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Sonia Gandhi to remain as Congress Chief, no resignation in party: CWC

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Sonia Gandhi to remain as Congress Chief, no resignation in party: CWC
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Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi chairs the Congress Working Committee meeting, in New Delhi, Sunday, March 13, 2022. Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and KC Venugopal are also seen. (PTI Photo)

Sonia Gandhi will remain Congress president, said the party on Sunday after a four-and-half-hour long meeting over the party's huge defeat in the state polls.

The three Gandhis reportedly offered to "sacrifice" their posts but the party rejected it.

"Congress interim president Sonia will lead us and will take future steps. We all have faith in her leadership," said party leader Mallikarjun Kharge after the party's working committee meeting.

The meeting comes as the scale of Congress's defeat had set off refreshed demands for sweeping organisational changes and accountable leadership.

More than 50 leaders participated at the meeting -- a number surpassing the combined strength of Congress's MLAs and MPs from the five states where the elections were held -- Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Punjab.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former party chief Rahul Gandhi, general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, KC Venugopal, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, party's leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and P Chidambaram were among those who attended the Congress Working Committee.

The CWC asked Sonia Gandhi to address weaknesses and effect necessary changes, as per a statement released after the meeting.

"The CWC unanimously reaffirms its faith in the leadership of Smt. Sonia Gandhi and requests the Congress President to lead from the front, address the organisational weaknesses, effect necessary & comprehensive organisational changes in order to take on the political challenges," the Congress said in a statement.

The top decision-making body of the Congress said it will hold a "Chintan Shivir" (brainstorming session) to focus on the organisational elections after the budget session of parliament ends.

"Every single member of the CWC wants Sonia Gandhi to guide party till organisational elections are held," Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said.

There has been criticism that Rahul Gandhi, who does not hold any official position after stepping down as Congress president after the party's second straight national election defeat in 2019, continues to call the shots.

Decisions by him and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have been seen as being responsible for the party's crushing defeat in Punjab, a state it ruled, and Uttar Pradesh.

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