New Delhi, August 24: Congress' national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala dismissed the reports which claimed on Sunday that Sonia Gandhi would step down from her position of party president. The seniormost Gandhi family member was appointed at the helm in August last year, after her son Rahul Gandhi had stepped down following the humiliating defeat in 2019 general elections.

"Reports of Sonia Gandhi resigning from the post of Congress interim president are false," said Surjewala, whose statement is considered as the official word of the party. Congress President Row: Veterans Back Sonia Gandhi, Ashok Gehlot Says Letter of Dissent 'Unbelievable'.

Surjewala's clarification came amid reports claiming that Gandhi has replied to a letter of dissent sent to her by around 23 seniormost party leaders. The dissenters have sought a complete overhaul of the party structure to re-energise the cadres and end the spree of poll defeats. Gandhi, in her reply, reportedly asked them to "get together and elect a new president".

Update by ANI

Who Will be Next Congress President?

While a section of party old guard including Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot have led their weight behind Sonia Gandhi, a number of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chiefs have demanded the return of Rahul Gandhi to the helm.

Sonia, 73, was given a one-year interim role as party chief last year after no one came forth to claim the presidency following her son's exit. The Congress Working Committee (CWC), which is scheduled to convene today for a top-level meeting, will take a final call on the next leader, reports said.

The timing of CWC meeting is reminiscent of the Congress crisis of 1999, when pressure had mounted on Sonia to step down following the defeat in general elections. The party had, however, rejected her resignation then and asked her to continue. She had continued as the party chief for next 17 years, which saw the Congress winning 2004 and 2009 general elections, but suffering its most severe defeat in 2014.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 23, 2020 08:52 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website