Former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is not retiring from politics yet, party leader Alka Lamba said on Sunday, a day after the 76-year-old said she was happy that her “innings could conclude” with the recent cross-country public outreach march Bharat Jodo Yatra.
“Sonia Gandhi has clarified she is not retiring from politics and will continue to be the guiding force,” Ms Lamba said in her address at the Congress’s three-day brainstorming convention in Chhattisgarh’s capital Raipur.
Ms Gandhi, who was present in the audience at the Congress’s 85th plenary session, was seen smiling in assent.
Addressing 15,000 delegates on the second day of the conclave, Ms Gandhi had said, “What gratifies me most, is that my innings could conclude with the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The Yatra has come as a turning point. It has proved that the people of India overwhelmingly want harmony, tolerance and equality.”
“It has renewed the rich legacy of dialogue between our party and the people through mass contact programmes. It has shown us all that the Congress stands with the people and is ready to fight for them,” she said.
“I congratulate all party workers who have worked hard for the Yatra… I especially thank Rahul [Gandhi] ji, whose determination and leadership were crucial in the Yatra’s success,” Ms Gandhi said.
The former Congress chief left people guessing whether she would run for parliament again from Uttar Pradesh’s Raebareli or leave the seat for her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the next Lok Sabha elections.
Held in the wake of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which aimed to rally supporters and address the party’s disconnect with the voters, the Congress’s plenary session was expected to take key decisions for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, including tie-ups with other opposition parties.
After back-to-back election defeats, years of internal wrangling for an overhaul and an exodus of leaders, Sonia Gandhi passed on the reins of the 137-year-old outfit to Mr Kharge, a loyalist, in October. Considered the first family of the party, the Gandhis maintain a firm hold on it.
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