<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When the Congress Working Committee (CWC) met in New Delhi on August 8, supposedly to discuss the issue of the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement, party president Sonia Gandhi had something else on her mind as well.At the end of the meetings, she quietly broached the subject of a change in leadership of the party with some senior leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — wondering aloud if Priyanka Gandhi should be made Working President of the party.”It wasn’t a casual question. She clearly had something on her mind. There is lot of merit in this move, if it happens,” observed a CWC member.If the response of the small group of leaders — just three to four, as the source described it — is an indication, her thought received strong support.While there have been demands in the past that Priyanka should be given some formal role in the party, the family has repeatedly sidestepped the issue. On her part, Priyanka has restricted herself, politically that is, to the Gandhi family bastions of Amethi and Rae Barelli.Sources present in the meeting shared with DNA that Sonia told the select few that if the party wants to put up a credible show in the next Lok Sabha elections, a young face would have to assume control and manage the affairs of the party, including strategising with senior leaders.A final decision on the future of the party is expected to be taken in the next one month or so.Incidentally, party vice-president and the man many consider to be the president–in–waiting, Rahul Gandhi, did not attend the meeting as he is in the grip of a viral fever.While the possibility of Rahul’s elevation as party president has been the subject of intense speculation for the past many years now, possibility of Priyanka being the face of the party in the run up to the 2019 general elections, many feel, could galvanise the moribund party and its cadre.”Whether we want to admit it or not, the truth is that the Gandhi family is the glue that binds this party. Even when a member of the family wasn’t at the forefront, like when PV Narasimha Rao was Prime Minister or when Sitaram Kesari was party president, the shadow of the family always loomed large. Despite attempts to malign the name of the family, there is little doubt that the Gandhis have a connect with voters in large parts of the country,” observed a senior Congress MP and a former minister.Since 2014, when Narendra Modi led the BJP to a spectacular victory in the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has witnessed a steady departure of several prominent state-level leaders.Many in the party also suggest that the reason for the absence of an effective game-plan to counter the Modi juggernaut is the sharp divide between the thought process of Team Rahul and the Old Guard represented by the likes of Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad and many state satraps.While some who don’t enjoy much support within the party or even among common voters have talked of looking beyond the Nehru-Gandhi family to revive the party, this line of thinking hasn’t found any traction within the Congress.
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