- First meeting since Rahul Gandhi announced he would quit as party chief
- Congress has not select a successor over even an interim chief
- Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has already refused to accept the post
The top decision-making body of the Congress, the Working Commitee, is expected to meet on August 10 amid a huge leadership crisis in the party. The meeting would be the first since Rahul Gandhi had announced his intention to step down from the party chief's post two days after the Lok Sabha election results were announced in May.
Mr Gandhi has been insistent on his decision -- announced at the closed-door meeting of the Working Committee on May 25-- and despite party leaders' repeated refusal to accept it, asked them to look for a replacement.
The party, however, has made no move to select a successor or even an interim chief -- a situation that made its senior leader Shashi Tharoor warn of a growing discontent within the ranks and the possibility of an exodus.
In a recent interview with NDTV, Mr Tharoor said privately, many parliamentarians were "upset with the state of affairs".
Since Independence, the Congress has been led mostly by members of the Nehru-Gandhi family. It did not do well under Sitaram Kesri - who took over after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for a few years -- and several leaders convinced Sonia Gandhi to take over.
This time, the names of both Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were floated for the top job, despite Mr Gandhi's direction that neither his mother nor sister could be roped into it. Priyanka Gandhi has already refused to accept the post.
The Congress faced a crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha election, failing to win a single seat in 17 states and union territories. Critics attributed it to Rahul Gandhi's leadership and said the party needs to move beyond the Nehru-Gandhi family if it wants to survive.
With a string of state elections coming up later this year, several Congress leaders, including Mr Tharoor, have pointed out that the party could not afford to allow any uncertainty.
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