The Congress’ Delhi unit on Sunday evening passed a resolution asking Rahul Gandhi to return as President of the party “with immediate effect”.
The resolution, expected to trigger a series of similar declarations by state units of the party, comes just days after it was announced that a new President would be elected in June – after Assembly elections in several key states, including Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
The election of a new President was announced after a meeting of the CWC (Congress Working Committee), the party’s highest decision-making body, after an argument between two groups, during which Rahul Gandhi reportedly said: “Once and for all, finish it and move on.”
Mr Gandhi resigned as party chief in 2019 after the Congress suffered a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha election, and has been adamant about not returning since, despite several calls to do so.
His mother, Sonia Gandhi, who has been interim chief since he resigned and was President before he took over, has made it clear she is not interested in retaining the post longer than necessary.
Over the past several months several senior Congress leaders have repeatedly called for introspection over poor performances in elections, and for “full time” and visible” leadership to take the party forward.
In August last year, 23 top leaders wrote to Sonia Gandhi calling for a “full-time, visible leadership” and an overhaul of the Congress after its prolonged run of defeats.
Veteran leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik and Shashi Tharoor were among the signatories of a letter that rattled the party and split it down the middle.
In response sources close to Mrs Gandhi, 73, said she talked of quitting and cited her poor health.
Sonia Gandhi had last month met some of the letter-writers and discussed the issues raised by them.