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New Delhi: As the crucial meeting of Congress Working Committee (CWC) began on Monday morning, Sonia Gandhi is known to have expressed her wish to be relieved from the post of Congress’ interim chief. The meeting is still going on and leaders are said to have requested she should continue with the top post.

According to people aware of developments, Gandhi indicated in the meeting she should be ‘once and for all’ relieved of her responsibilities as the party chief and a process for appointing a new party chief should be brought in place. She completed one year in the post on 10 August.

With the meeting still going on, it is yet to be known what official stand the CWC takes on her statement. Party leaders point out that there is an 'overwhelming view' that she should continue as the interim chief till the time the process for electing her successor is completed.

Significantly, she did allude to the letter sent by 23 top party leaders demanding a systemic overhaul in the party but added that she has given a ‘letter’ to general secretary incharge of organization K C Venugopal who was expected to brief other members of the committee on what her views are, leaders aware of developments said.

“She has expressed her wish to be relieved as a party chief and added that a letter to that effect has been given to Venugopal. Besides health grounds, she has maintained since the beginning that her taking over was an interim arrangement and the party should put in place a mechanism to replace her," a party functionary aware of developments said.

Citing sources, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported on Monday noon that after Gandhi expressed her wish of being relieved from the post and called for starting the process to select a new party chief , former prime minister Manmohan Singh urged her to continue. PTI added, quoting sources, that Venugopal in the meeting read out contents of a ‘letter’ that was given by Gandhi.

Following details of a letter by 23 Congress leaders came to public domain, first reported by The N Indian Express on Sunday, support has grown from top leaders of the party for the Gandhi family.

Three Congress chief ministers--Amarinder Singh of Punjab, Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan and Bhupesh Baghel of Chhattisgarh--along with senior party functionaries and lawmakers on Sunday took a public stand in favour of the Gandhi family continuing to lead the party and asked for former chief Rahul Gandhi to return to the top post.

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