New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is likely to be elevated as party chief at the culmination of party's organisatonal polls in October, party sources said on Tuesday.
They said Congress president Sonia Gandhi may step down ahead of Rahul's likely elevation.
The party on Tuesday released a schedule for the organisational elections which entail election of Congress president by 15 October.
The schedule was released after a meeting of Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of the party.
The Congress had deferred the organisational elections after Sonia's five-year term as party chief ended in 2015.
Sonia became party chief in 1998 and is the longest-serving party president.
There have been demands from within the party that Rahul, who became its vice-president in 2013, should take over party reigns from his mother Sonia.
But the Congress faced a series of electoral reverses after its debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, in which Rahul was the party's lead campaigner.
Even as the party has faced mounting electoral challenges, its poor electoral run has led to repeated speculation about the timing of Rahul's elevation.
Party sources said Rahul's likely elevation will mark a generational change as it prepares for the the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The likely elevation will be weeks before the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat where the Congress faces tough challenge from the BJP.
The sources said the likely elevation at the end of organisational elections will also fit in with Rahul's emphasis on fostering internal democracy in the party. Sonia has also been dealing with some health issues of late.
In her remarks at the CWC meeting here, Sonia said the ongoing organisational elections must be completed with utmost speed and sincerity.
According to the election schedule, Congress membership drive has be completed by 15 May and election of presidents of booth committees by 20 August.
Elections of block Congress chiefs, members of district congress committees and members of pradesh congress committees has to be concluded by 4 September.
The elections of president, vice-president, treasurer and executive panel of district congress committees has to be completed by 15 September and that of these posts in the pradesh congresss committees (PCC) by 15 October.
Elections of All India Congress Committee members by the respective PCCs and of the Congress president also has to be concluded by 15 October.
According to the schedule, members of the CWC will be elected by AICC members at the party plenary, for which dates will be decided later.
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Updated Date: Jun 06, 2017 23:06:52 IST