A day after the formal resignation of Rahul Gandhi as the Congress president, senior Congress leaders on Thursday intensified their informal discussions on a possible replacement for Mr. Gandhi even as his sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, endorsed her brothers decision. Return to frontpage Congress begins search for chief NEWS NATIONAL NATIONAL Congress begins search for chief Sandeep Phukan NEW DELHI, JULY 04, 2019 22:32 IST UPDATED: JULY 04, 2019 22:32 IST MORE-IN Indian National Congress Ahmed Patel reaches out to senior leaders to settle on Rahul Gandhis replacement. A day after the formal resignation of Rahul Gandhi as the Congress president, senior Congress leaders on Thursday intensified their informal discussions on a possible replacement for Mr. Gandhi even as his sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, endorsed her brothers decision. Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel has once again emerged a key leader who is reaching out to senior leaders including Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled States to arrive at a consensus candidate. Party insiders say like Mr. Gandhi, his mother and Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) chairperson Sonia Gndhi too turned down suggestions from her party colleagues that she should involve herself in the selection of the next party chief. The Gandhi family, claimed sources, didnt want a new Congress chief to be viewed as the familys nominee. But she is learnt to have conveyed her full support to look for Mr. Gandhis successor. Ms. Vadra, too supported her brothers decision when she tweeted, Few have the courage that you do, @rahulgandhi. Deepest respect for your decision. Mr. Gandhis decision to go public also prompted former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat to follow in his footsteps. He tweeted that he had stepped down as the partys general secretary in-charge of Assam for the poor showing in the State. With the next round of Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana coming up around October-November, time seems to be running out for the Congress and its highest decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee (CWC). Though no official announcement has been made, the CWC could be meeting as early as the next week to zero in on the successor Names that are doing the rounds include former Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, general secretary Mukul Wasnik, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy, Sachin Pilot.A section of the Congress said former PM Manmohan Singh could easily emerge as a consensus candidate if Dr. Singh agrees to shoulder the responsibility. The Congress constitution mandates that in the event of an emergency including the presidents resignation, the senior most General Secretary will discharge the routine functions of the President until the Working Committee appoints a provisional President pending the election of a regular President by the AICC.