Amidst a growing discomfiture within its ranks, the Congress may appoint an interim chief later this week to shepherd the party in the run-up to the formal election for the president’s post.

In an informal discussion with party leaders in Parliament on Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi insisted that the decision on the alternative arrangement after his resignation from the president’s post be expedited. Gandhi, however, categorically turned down any suggestions to appoint anyone from the family, including his sister Priyanka Gandhi, as party chief.

“An interim in-charge or president may be announced and the person may take charge later this week. This will be the necessary first step before elections to the party president’s post are formally called by the CWC,” a senior party leader privy to deliberations told

Senior party leaders Captain Amarinder Singh, Karan Singh and Shashi Tharoor have sought to impress upon the party to resolve the pending leadership issues after Rahul Gandhi resigned from the president’s post in the face of comprehensive drubbing in the general elections in May this year.

There has since been a steady exodus from the party, with MLAs from poll-bound Maharashtra leaving Congress for greener pastures. On Tuesday, the party got another shock when its Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Sinh resigned from the membership of the house to join the BJP.

About half-a-dozen names have been in discussion for the interim president’s post, including those of Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot from Rajasthan, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sushil Kumar Shinde and party general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal.