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Rahul Gandhi takes charge as Congress president from mother Sonia; supporters celebrate outside party office

Rahul Gandhi on Saturday formally took over as the new president of Indian National Congress, taking the mantle of the country's oldest political party from his mother Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Saturday.

Rahul Gandhi takes over as Congress president. Twitter @INCIndia

Rahul Gandhi takes over as Congress president. Twitter @INCIndia

The process of his election as the new Congress chief was completed after the Central Election Authority president Mullapally Ramachandran handed over the Certificate of Election to Rahul Gandhi in a ceremony at the 24, Akbar Road, housing the party headquarters.

The ceremony was marked by loud celebrations as scores of Rahul Gandhi supporters danced to upbeat tunes, raised slogans, burst crackers and distributed sweets outside the party office in New Delhi.

"This is historic. It is also a joyous day for the country and Congress. It is also emotional," Ramachandran said after he gave Rahul the certificate.

Rahul took over the reigns of the party from his mother, Sonia, who helmed the party for 19 long years.

Speaking at the event after he took over as Congress president, Rahul asked party members to stand up to BJP, saying anger and hatred cannot defeat his party. "Today, BJP is trying to ignite fire and spread hatred. We are trying to douse it," he said.

"I want Congress to become an instrument of dialogue with the people of India," he added.

Before Sonia stepped down as party chief, she addresses the gathering. Thousands of Congress workers outside the AICC headquarters watched Sonia's emotional address and raised slogans. They hailed her by burning crackers and beating drums.

"Since 2014, we have been playing the role of opposition. The challenge that we face today, is the biggest one. Our constitutional values are being attacked. Our party has also lost many elections but our party will never bow down." said Sonia.

This is the new office of the newly elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi at AICC HQ, 24 Akbar Road in New Delhi. In his next visit to Congress HQ, Rahul will meet party leaders and workers in this office from Monday. Firstpost/Debobrat Ghose

This is the new office of the newly elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi at AICC HQ, 24 Akbar Road in New Delhi. In his next visit to Congress HQ, Rahul will meet party leaders and workers in this office from Monday. Firstpost/Debobrat Ghose

Speaking of her son, Sonia said that he had to bear personal attacks since he joined politics and became a stronger person. "Rahul is my son, so, I do not think for me to praise him is right. But I would say that since childhood he had to bear the brunt of violence. After joining politics he had to face blatant personal attacks, that have made him a stronger person," she said.

Following Gandhi's elevation as Congress president two days before the counting of votes begins in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections, congratulations poured in from several party members. Many of them thanked ex-party president Sonia for being the "source of the party's strength".

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Dec 17, 2017 08:39 AM

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