India’s Congress party appoints Sonia Gandhi interim chief
NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s main opposition Congress party on Saturday appointed Sonia Gandhi as interim president until it elects a new party chief.
The party accepted the resignation of her son Rahul Gandhi, who quit as party president in July after its crushing defeat in national elections.He continues to be a member of Parliament.
Party spokesman K.C. Venugopal told reporters that the party working committee requested 72-year-old Sonia Gandhi take over as interim president in a stop-gap arrangement.
Sonia Gandhi handed the top party post to her son in 2017 after she suffered health problems. The party has long been led by the politically powerful Nehru-Gandhi family.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party won 303 out of 542 seats in the lower house of Parliament. The Congress party won 52 seats in April-May elections.
In January, Rahul Gandhi inducted his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into politics as a party general secretary months before the national elections.
Several Congress leaders are keen that 47-year-old Vadra succeeds Rahul Gandhi as the party president. She has in the past helped her mother and brother campaign in their constituencies in northern Uttar Pradesh state
Rahul Gandhi’s father, Rajiv Gandhi, grandmother Indira Gandhi and great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru have all served as prime minister since India’s independence from British colonialists in 1947.
Rahul Gandhi entered politics in 2004.