The Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Saturday appointed Sonia Gandhi as "interim president" of the party nearly two-and-half months after her son Rahul Gandhi resigned as the party chief.
The decision signals the party's desire to fall back on her experience during one of its worst periods and also the party's continued dependence on the Nehru-Gandhi family for leadership.
The choice of Sonia Gandhi, who helmed the party for 19 years as party chief from 1998 to 2017, before handing over leadership to Rahul, came as a surprise as there was speculation that a non-Gandhi could be made the interim chief.
The decision was made late in the evening after consultations with state Congress chiefs, Congress legislative party leaders, MPs, and secretaries.
Rahul Gandhi had offered to resign at the CWC meeting in May following the party's debacle in the Lok Sabha elections.
Though the CWC declined his offer, Gandhi insisted on his resignation being accepted and the party went through a period of political uncertainty at the top.
The CWC on Saturday again urged Rahul to reconsider his decision to resign but he declined. As per party constitution, the CWC is only authorised to elect an interim president.
The CWC also adopted a resolution hailing Gandhi's leadership.
Congress General Secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal and party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala read the resolution.
"The CWC considered the views of PCC presidents, CLP leaders, AICC Secretaries and Members of Parliament. The CWC unanimously resolved that Rahul Gandhi should continue as Congress president, as desired by all who were consulted today, and requested him to accept this decision. However, Rahul Gandhi declined to withdraw his resignation," reads the resolution.
"Consequently, the CWC unanimously resolved to request Sonia Gandhi to take over as Interim President pending the election of a regular President by the AICC," the resolution adds.
Surjewala told media persons that Sonia Gandhi has accepted the request of CWC.
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