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India’s Congress party appoints Sonia Gandhi interim chief

NEW DELHI — India’s main opposition Congress party has appointed Sonia Gandhi as interim president until it elects a new party chief.

The party has accepted the resignation of her son Rahul Gandhi, who quit as party president in July after its crushing defeat in national elections.

Party spokesman K.C. Venugopal told reporters that the party working committee on Saturday requested the 72-year-old Sonia Gandhi to take over as interim president in a stop-gap arrangement.

Sonia Gandhi had handed the top party post to her son in 2017 after she suffered health problems. The party has long been led by the politically powerful Nehru-Gandhi family.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party won 303 out of 542 seats in the lower house of Parliament. The Congress party won 52 seats in April-May elections.

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