Day After Congress ‘Rebels’ Meet, Rahul Gandhi’s Reach Out

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Rahul Gandhi met Bhupinder Hooda at his residence

New Delhi:

Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda met Rahul Gandhi today, a day after attending a meeting of the Congress “G-23” or rebel group. During their meeting, the veteran Congress leader explained the situation in Haryana to Mr Gandhi and discussed how the party should be strengthened in the state, sources say.

Mr Hooda is the first leader from the rebel group to meet with one of the three Gandhis after the meeting yesterday that focused on the perceived missteps of the Congress’s first family and its loyalists.

Party sources said that Rahul Gandhi agreed with the suggestions that had been put forward at the G-23 meet.

A group of 18 Congress leaders, a mix of G-23 dissidents and some newcomers, met last night and pitched for a “collective, inclusive leadership”.

Mr Hooda, a mass leader, was one of the newcomers who attended the meet. The 23 dissenters had written to Sonia Gandhi two years ago demanding big changes in the Congress, including a leadership overhaul.

Wednesday’s G-23 meet came just days after a post-mortem by the Congress Working Committee of the party’s drubbing in recent state elections. The defeat in five states came as a shock to the Congress, which had hoped to retain Punjab and get a fighting chance at a comeback in three more states ahead of the 2024 election.

At the Working Committee meeting to assess what went wrong in the elections, there was talk of forming a new committee to prepare for the elections after the parliament session, but no commitment was given about any hard change.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi later sought the resignations of state party chiefs of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa, and Manipur. She also named five leaders for the task of suggesting changes in the states.

The rebels say the very leaders who should be blamed for misguiding the Gandhis and setting the party up for humiliation have been tasked with analysing the election defeats and suggesting remedies.

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