Members of the erstwhile core group committee of the Congress met here on Wednesday and discussed the party's preparations for the forthcoming Assembly polls in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir. The meeting was headed by senior Congress leader A.K. Antony.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: "Rahul Gandhi was, is and will be the Congress party chief and none of us have any doubt about it."
He was asked about Rahul Gandhi's insistence to step down as party chief. At the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting last month, Gandhi had offered to step down taking responsibility for the party's poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls. The offer was rejected by the CWC.
Surjewala told reporters that there was no core group of the party at present "as the term of all the panels formed ahead of the Lok Sabha polls had ended with the conclusion of the polls".
"Contrary to speculation, there is no core group. The members of erstwhile core group met informally and discussed preparations for the Assembly polls," he said.
He said Congress general secretary in-charge of organisation K.C. Venugopal would convene a meeting of its general secretaries "to prepare for the Assembly polls.
Surjewala said UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi would take a decision on it before the start of Parliament session.
The nine-member core group committee was formed in August last year as part of Congress' preparations for the Lok Sabha polls.
Besides Antony, Venugopal and Surjewala, it members included Ghulam Nabi Azad, P. Chidambaram, Ashok Gehlot, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel and Jairam Ramesh.