Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi are likely to be present in Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s meeting tomorrow with a group of 23 rebels dubbed as the “G-23”, sources say. The Gandhis’ meeting with the leaders, who wrote a letter flagging a leadership drift in the Congress and calling for sweeping organizational changes, is said to be a step towards reconciliation after months of infighting and in-house attacks.
But the Congress claims other leaders, who were not signatories to the letter, will also be present. Sonia Gandhi is meeting various groups ahead of organizational elections, say party leaders. Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath reportedly played a big part in getting Sonia Gandhi to agree to the meeting. Kamal Nath, who lost power in Madhya Pradesh in March following senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia’s defection to the BJP, had so far kept a distance from the dissenters. Sources say he has now backed their cause.
In a letter in August, the 23 leaders had expressed concern over the party’s downslide since it lost power in 2014 and had called for an “active and visible leadership” and collective decision-making. It was seen as a stunning act of defiance by a group that included the party’s senior most defenders and spokespersons. Attempts at sealing the rift come as the Congress looks to elect a new party president and new members to its top decision-making bodies in the New Year. Sonia Gandhi, 74, has been interim chief since son Rahul quit last year over the Congress’s second straight national election defeat. He has since refused to reconsider that decision, making it clear that a non-Gandhi should head the party.