New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The process for organisational elections in the Congress party has begun and the Grand Old Party may find Sonia Gandhi's successor as party chief by early 2021, according to news agency ANI. Citing sources, the agency said that the Congress may have a new president by early next year if everything goes as per the schedule. The Congress party's central election authority had met on Thursday at the AICC headquarters under the chairmanship of Madhusudan Mistry to finalise the process.

"In the meeting, it was decided to start the process and to wind it up by November. After that, the Committee will inform Sonia Gandhi that the party is prepared for the internal elections, following which the CWC meeting will be called for giving a go-ahead," the agency said.

The development has come after an explosive dissent letter by 23 senior party leaders demanding major organisational reforms, including elections for the Congress Working Committee members and a full time party chief.

In August this year, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) had extended Sonia Gandhi's tenure as interim Congress president. This was the meeting where the dissent letter was discussed and Sonia had offered to step down.

She had also asked the party to start a process to replace her as Congress president. According to reports, Gandhi told party leaders to look for a non-Gandhi chief. However, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, her son Rahul Gandhi and other Gandhi family loyalists asked her to continue.

Besides leadership change, the letter reportedly signed by leaders like Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari, Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Veerrapa Moili among a few others have also called for decentralisation of power and elections to pick the members of the Congress Working Committee - the top decision-making body of the party.

Empowerment of state units and organisational elections at every level were among the few reforms suggested by the leaders in their letter to Sonia Gandhi.

Posted By: Shashikant Sharma