Ahead of Chintan Shivir, fresh clamour to make Rahul Gandhi Congress president


New Delhi, May 11 (UNI) Ahead of the Chintan Shivir of Congress set to be held in Udaipur, demands have emerged from leaders in the party once again to make Rahul Gandhi the president of the party. Even as the process for election of a new Congress president has started, in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting held here on Monday, at least two party leaders raised the demand for Rahul Gandhi to take command of the party, which is currently being led by Sonia Gandhi as its Interim President. Asked about the presidential elections in the party, a senior Congress leader said there will be no short-cuts to appointment of a new Congress president, and the process will be concluded as per schedule. The process for election of a new Congress president started with completion of the membership campaign of the party in March end. The election is to be completed by September. "Sonia Gandhi has said she is a full time and hands-on President (of Congress) but she is an interim president... The process of appointment of a new President is on, and it will go as per schedule," a senior party leader said. The leader said the party had considered holding the Chintan Shivir after the process of electing a new Congress president is completed. However, with polls scheduled in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh in November, and possibility of polls in Jammu and Kashmir, the party decided not to delay the brainstorming meeting. The leader also said that the discussions around reforms required in the party does not depend on who is at the helm of affairs. "Reforms are not dependent on an individual becoming Congress president," the leader said. Asked about suggestions that "collective decision making" should be done, the leader said, "We are not Communist Party of Soviet. Everyone gives suggestions, we are a democratic party and consultations are done, but the decision is taken by the Congress President. We do not have a Polit Bureau". The Congress president in her message at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Monday had urged party members to be united, and chart out an actionable plan for the party. Sonia Gandhi also told members there is "no magic wand". The Congress President at the CWC meeting had also expressed concern over information leaking from the party meeting, said sources. The Chintan Shivir will be held in Udaipur, Rajasthan from May 13-15.