Seven months after the Congress Working Committee expressed a "strong sentiment" for Rahul Gandhi's elevation as party president, Congress president Sonia Gandhi is likely to preside over the party's highest policy body meeting that begins this morning to ratify the timeline for the organisational elections slated for later this year.
The CWC closed-door meeting at Mrs Gandhi's residence comes against the backdrop of attempts by the Congress to unite opposition parties ahead of the presidential election next month and put together a broad coalition of opposition parties ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to take on the BJP.
On November 7 last year, the CWC had discussed Mr Gandhi's elevation and expressed their "unanimous and strong sentiments" for his promotion. Later Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said the meeting did not want to take any decision on the leadership role in the absence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi who could not attend the meeting because she was unwell.
This is the top panel's first meeting after the Congress was washed out in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the assembly elections. Apart from another round of introspection, Mr Gandhi had concluded that structural and organisational changes were required to revive the party.
The party has to complete internal elections by this year-end. The president's election is expected to be take place by 15 October and will be followed by another round, to appoint the members of the party's highest decision-making body. The CWC has 25 members; at least 12 of them have to be elected by All India Congress Committee (AICC) members. But there has been no need to conduct elections to the CWC since 1997.
Sources said the CWC does have powers to appoint party chief and later get it ratified by the Congress members but Rahul Gandhi has been keen that he is democratically elected.