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Ready to step down as Congress president: Sonia Gandhi tells aides after letter row

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New Delhi, Aug 23: Sonia Gandhi, the Congress interim president has responded to a letter by party colleagues saying she would step down from the party's interim chief's post and that the party should choose a new president.

Sonia had taken over as interim chief on August 10 last year after Rahul Gandhi resigned taking responsibility for the party's debacle in the Lok Sabha election.

Sonia Gandhi

Gandhi has sent a formal reply in which she has asked the party leaders to get together and find a new chief as she does not want to carry out the responsibilities any further.

Ahead of crucial CWC meet tomorrow, different voices have emerged within the party with one section comprising sitting MPs and former ministers demanding collective leadership, while another group has sought the return of Rahul Gandhi to the helm.

While two dozen Congress leaders including some ex-ministers have written to party president Sonia Gandhi for overhaul of the organizational structure and changes to the leadership, some leaders close to Rahul have also written to the CWC pressing for the Gandhi scion's return as chief.

The letter by former ministers and some MPs was believed to have been written a few weeks ago and sets the stage for a stormy CWC meeting where issues flagged by dissenters are expected to be discussed and debated.

Gandhi vs non-Gandhi: Congress leaders call for changes in party, another group bats for Rahul

These leaders have called for bringing changes in the organization by effecting reforms through decentralisation of power and empowerment of state units besides setting up of the Central Parliamentary Board, a body that existed in the party in the 1970s but was later wound up.

The letter in question has also stressed collective decision-making with Gandhi family as its "integral part."

They have also called for the appointment of a full-time leadership which is active and which can be easily contacted by workers and leaders. The pro-reform leaders are further learnt to have called for free and fair organizational polls from the block up to the working committee level.

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