Antony, Venugopal decline to take up Congress chief’s post

Antony, Venugopal decline to take up Congress chief’s post

New Delhi: Amid the persisting leadership crisis in the Congress, former Defence minister A.K.Antony and party General Secretary K.C.Venugopal have turned down the offer to take up the party President’s post, sources said.

Antony cited his poor health to express his inability to take up the post, a senior Congress source said.

Venugopal rejected the offer citing his other role of strengthening the party. He is also in-charge of Karnataka, where the party won only one out of 28 seats in the Lok Sabha elections.

Senior party members Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad, who are looking for a new face, outside the Gandhi family, to lead the party, had asked Antony and Venugopal for their opinion on them taking up the role.

The search for the new leader was initiated after Rahul Gandhi offered to resign from the party’s top job at the Congress Working Committee meeting in May 25, following the party’s dismal performance in the recently concluded general elections.

However, the party’s top decision making body unanimously rejected Rahul’s offer, instead giving him full power to make structural changes in the party.

Now Congress leaders are looking for a face from North India to lead the party, the party source said.