New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Top leaders of the Congress, including Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and daughter Priyanka, on Saturday met at 10 Janpath to elect the new chief of the party. The meeting was attended by Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Prithviraj Chavan, Kamal Nath, P Chidambaram, A K Antony, Ambika Soni, Ashok Gehlot, Harish Rawat, Ajay Maken, Pawan Bansal and Bhakt Charan Das.

Following the meeting, news agency ANI quoted sources saying that senior Congress leaders want "Rahul Gandhi to take the responsibility of party President at which point he said it should be left to the electoral process of the party".

Meanwhile, Pawan Bansal, a Sonia Gandhi loyalist, said that the party held positive discussions and the senior leaders talked on how to strengthen the Congress at all levels. Senior leaders Prithviraj Chavan and Harish Rawat also reiterated what Bansal said and informed that the party trusts the leadership of the Gandhis.

"There is no doubt in leadership. Everyone trusts Sonia Gandhi's and Rahul Gandhi's leadership. Congress stands united. In today's meeting, we discussed the strategies to resolve challenges and will continue to do so," Rawat was quoted by ANI as saying.

However, the party has decided to hold conclaves similar to Panchmarhi and Shimla to chalk out the way ahead. The Congress had organised both the Pachmarhi and Shimla 'Chintan Shivirs' when the party was in the opposition. While the Pachmarhi Shivir was organised in September 1998 when Gandhi had just taken over the party's reins, the Shimla Shivir was held later in July 2003.

Several top leaders of the Congress -- including Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad -- had raised questions over the top leadership of the party and wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi, calling for an "active and visible leadership".

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma