New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi is set to become
Congress president again and her election will be ratified at
the next AICC plenary, which is likely to be held in Mumbai by
year end when the party will mark 125 years of its formation.
Gandhi, who has remained at the helm for 12 years, has
created a record of being the longest-serving party president.
She took over the reins of the Congress in April 1998
following the exit of Sitaram Kesri after the party`s dismal
showing in the Lok Sabha polls.
Congress leaders from Maharashtra, where the party has
been in power for over a decade, have already approached the
central leadership to hold the plenary in Mumbai where the
party was formed way back in 1885.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and PCC president Manikrao
Thakre met Gandhi yesterday and discussed the preparation for
the celebration of 125 years of the party and also the
organisational elections in the state.
While no decision has been taken on the venue for
holding the plenary, it is significant that Mumbai had hosted
the 1985 centenary of the Congress when Rajiv Gandhi was the
It was in Mumbai in August 1942 that Mahatma Gandhi
had launched the Quit India Movement, which eventually resulted
in Independence five years later.
Party sources said that though 63-year-old Gandhi was
initially supposed to take over as party chief for the third
consecutive time by the end of July, the process could be
delayed slightly as Congress Working Committee is yet to
finalise the election schedule.
There is, however, no immediate official word from the
party on when the CWC would meet.
Party leaders said there was no "tight schedule" for
the election as it depended on the report of the Pradesh
Returning Officers of various states and the election of AICC