Rahul Gandhi, sources say, is not keen to take over as Congress chief. (File)

New Delhi:

A furious Rahul Gandhi today intervened at a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting after his mother Sonia Gandhi announced that she wanted to “be relieved of the post of party president” and questioned the timing of a letter written by over 20 top party leaders targeting the Gandhi leadership. He reportedly also accused the signatories of the letter of working in cahoots with the ruling BJP.

Rahul Gandhi, in a strident intervention shortly after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, dropped a bombshell accusation that the “dissenters” were colluding with the BJP.

Rahul Gandhi asked why the letter attacked the Congress when it was at its weakest, when it was battling crises in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and when the Congress president (Sonia Gandhi) was unwell.

“For whom was this done,” he questioned, adding that the letter had “hurt” his mother.

Sonia Gandhi’s decision to quit follows the letter written by 26 top Congress leaders, including MPs and former Union Ministers, demanding a “full-time, visible leadership” and complaining about a drift in the party.

The explosive letter spoke about “uncertainty” over the leadership and stressed that the Gandhis will always be an integral part of a “collective leadership”.

The signatories include Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Prithviraj Chavan, Vivek Tankha and Anand Sharma.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, a Rajya Sabha member who has always been a Gandhi loyalist, is also a part of the CWC.

Sonia Gandhi’s declaration spurred predictable calls for her to continue and sharp attacks on the letter-writers. Manmohan Singh was among those who came out in support of Sonia Gandhi and hit out at the signatories of the letter.

“The letter is unfortunate,” the former PM reportedly said. He remarked that “weakening the high command is weakening the Congress”.

Speaking after Manmohan Singh, senior leader AK Anthony said: “More than letter, contents of the letter were cruel.” He also spoke about “the sacrifices of Sonia Gandhi,” according to sources, and urged Rahul Gandhi to take over as Congress president.

Rahul Gandhi did not address calls for his return as Congress chief.

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