Debating India


Sonia re-elected Congress chief

Sunday 29 May 2005

Special Correspondent

No room for complacency; we need to work harder than ever before, partymen urged

JPEG - 27 kb
V. Sudershan
ROSES ALL THE WAY: Sonia Gandhi is all smiles on being re-elected Congress president without contest in New Delhi on Wednesday.

NEW DELHI: Sonia Gandhi was formally re-elected Congress president here on Saturday morning. Her election had been a foregone conclusion since the organisational elections were announced. There was no opposition to her candidature for the post, which saw an election the last time in 2000.

This will be her third term since she took over the reins of the party in March 1998.

Celebration at party headquarters

Ms. Gandhi’s re-election was announced by the chairman of the central election authority, Oscar Fernandes, at the Congress headquarters here amid the bursting of crackers and drum beating. Of the 100 sets of nominations filed in her favour, three were found invalid - those of the All-India Mahila Congress.

Soon after the formality of accepting her "election certificate" from Mr. Fernandes, Ms. Gandhi told partymen that she would work shoulder-to-shoulder with them to build the organisation.

Stating the Congress had returned to power at the Centre in the face of numerous challenges, Ms. Gandhi underlined that there was no room for complacency. "We need to work harder than ever before," she emphasised, thanking the workers for their cooperation.

Stream of visitors

As Ms. Gandhi returned to her adjoining residence, leaders and workers made a beeline to congratulate her.

For the next couple of hours, 10 Janpath witnessed a steady stream of visitors as the celebrations continued outside. Except Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was away in Himachal Pradesh, the entire senior leadership was present.

Ms. Gandhi was first appointed Congress president on March 14, 1998. In 2000, she faced a challenge from Jitendra Prasad, who managed only 10 votes.

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