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Congress leaders hold meeting without Rahul Gandhi, insist he is still party president

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. Photograph:( IANS )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 13, 2019, 11.11 AM (IST) Written By: Kartikeya Sharma

Beleaguered Congress leaders met on Wednesday to thrash out strategy for states where assembly election will take place later this year. Interestingly, the meeting took place in the absence of party president Rahul Gandhi who is currently in London.

The reason for his London trip is not known but he is expected to be back in India before the Monsoon Session of Parliament. Rahul Gandhi flew out to UK on Tuesday.

"The meeting was held to discuss the strategy for the coming elections in Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Haryana. It was attended by senior leaders like Ahmad Patel, P Chidambaramn, Jairam Ramesh, AK Antony, Mallikarjun Kharge, Randeep Surjewalana and KC Venugopal," said Congress leader Randeep Surjewala.

At the meeting held at Congress war room, the party also dissolved the core group which was made in wake of Lok Sabha elections.

Party sources said that very soon a meeting of general secretaries of the election going states would be called. They also said that there was no discussion on who will succeed Rahul Gandhi.

The fact that Rahul Gandhi this time around did not tweet about his journey indicates that he has not changed his mind about his decision to quit as Congress president. After a lot of criticism, Gandhi had started to tweet about the journeys he took abroad. A highly placed Congress source said that since he sent in his resignation and is only functioning for the interim period, he does not need to tweet and inform people in general as he would do as a fully functional president of the Congress party.

This development has been noticed by all in the Congress. Sources also said that as of now, Gandhi has not changed his mind about his decision to quit and all efforts to mollycoddle him have come to a naught.

After the meeting, Congress leaders insisted that Rahul Gandhi continues to be the party president as his resignation was rejected by the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of the party. The point to be noted here is that after massive defeat in Lok Sabha and the stormy CWC meet in the party's headquarters in Delhi, Gandhi has not made himself available to party for any substantial meeting on any substantial issue. He made time for visit to his new constituency Wayanad and a photo op with cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Siddhu. Gandhi He also met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar but remained unavailable to rest of the party.

The Monsoon Session of the Parliament will begin on June 17 and Congress will have to announce the leader of the party's parliamentary party in the Lok Sabha. As of now, no name has been finalised but three names doing the round are Manish Tewari, Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary and Shashi Tharoor.