By Siddharth Sharma
New Delhi [India], Sept 13 (ANI): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was absent from a crucial meeting of the party called by interim president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday here.
Rahul remained at the core of party meetings since he assumed the charge of Congress president in 2017 from which he resigned following a series of electoral defeats.
Congress general secretaries, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) presidents, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leaders were present in the meeting at party headquarters in the national capital.
When asked about the absence of Rahul Gandhi, former union minister RPN Singh had told reporters that he was not called because he doesn't fall in the criteria of leaders called for the meeting and Manmohan Singh was called as economic issues were to be discussed.
It may be noted that Rahul does not hold any post except for being a Congress Working Committee (CWC) member. The meeting which he skipped was called to discuss preparations to mark 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the party's membership drive and training programme of the cadre.
However, party sources claimed that Rahul, Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad could have attended the meeting as A K Antony was also, present there.
Antony is neither a PCC president nor a general secretary but he attended the meeting in the capacity of being a senior leader of the party.
Sources close to Rahul told ANI that he has honestly taken a stand by quitting and has decided to attend the events of the party as and when necessary.
The last CWC meeting attended by Rahul discussed abrogation of Article 370. However, he had left the meet after his resignation as Congress president was accepted and Sonia Gandhi became the interim president.
This is the first time in 12 years when Rahul Gandhi's nameplate is not there at the party headquarters.
In 2007, Rahul was appointed as the general secretary of the party but as of now he is bereft of all organisational posts and is only a CWC member.
His mother Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have designated chambers at the party headquarters in the capacity of being interim president and general secretary of the party, respectively.
After quitting from the post of Congress president, Rahul had stated that he will not be interfering in party decisions.
He had also emphasised that a non-Gandhi should lead the party but ultimately Sonia Gandhi had to follow the CWC's decision and had to take charge as Congress interim president.
According to sources, Rahul is maintaining distance from these crucial meetings intentionally to show that he is not controlling the party and power centre is Sonia Gandhi's residence.
Rahul is likely to attend the events at one of the three places related to Mahatma Gandhi where the Congress party is planning a grand function, sources said. (ANI)