Throughout her tenure Sonia Gandhi has played the role of a unifier and today she once again demonstrated her ability to rise above narrow factional considerations and take all sections of the party together. Signs of the rapprochement were available this afternoon itself with Rahul Gandhi first reaching out to Kapil Sibal to clarify that he did not accuse the signatories of being in league with the BJP. Soon thereafter Ghulamnabi Azad came out and clarified that at no point did Rahul Gandhi ever make the remarks attributed to him.

Both sides appear to have realised the need to pull back from the brink and prevent the situation from turning into a full blown crisis. The loyalists succeeded in demonstrating that the Gandhis still enjoy majority support within the party, while the ginger group has got the leadership to concede one of their key demands to hold organisational elections within the next six months. Sonia Gandhi will have to take the consultative process by accommodating one or more of the signatories in the committee that will be set up to assist her.

Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh appears to have played a key role in persuading Sonia Gandhi to continue as party chief at least for now. His intervention and passionate appeal coupled with that of the other old guard AK Antony appears to have had a salutary effect on the Congress president. Rahul Gandhi kept his powder dry after his opening remarks in which he questioned the timing of the letter. Unlike the past he did not reiterate his stand that he does not want to come back as party chief . The answer to that question will be found closer to the organisational elections. The option for him to return is available to him and he could choose to contest the elections and if elected it could give him the kind of political legitimacy heft which has been lacking so far.