Rahul Gandhi will take over as Congress president soon, confirms Sonia Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi's elevation to the post of Congress high-command has been a matter of when rather than if. However, the Gandhi scion's imminent promotion, which has now been a talking point since years, was strengthened on Friday when Congress president Sonia Gandhi herself hinted that she may soon make way for her son to take forward the family legacy and head India's grand old party.

According to media reports, on questions about Rahul's elevation as Congress president, Sonia said that the change at the helm will happen soon.

File image of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. PTI

File image of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. PTI

"You have been asking this for so many years and it's now happening," Sonia said, smiling, pointing at Rahul, according to NDTV. Sonia has also been dealing with some health issues of late.

Rahul, however, refused to answer questions on the subject and instead referred to the controversy over BJP president Amit Shah's son Jay Shah. What about Jay Shah's takeover and his huge increase in his turnover, he commented, as reported by NDTV.

The Congress is currently in the process of a major structural rejig with its organisational elections just around the corner. The Election Commission has set a  December deadline for the Congress to conclude the exercise. The All India Congress Committee, however, plans to complete the process by the end of this month.

The likely elevation will be weeks before the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat where the Congress faces a tough challenge from the BJP.

Rahul's imminent promotion, at the end of the organisational elections, will also fit in with the Congress vice-president's emphasis on fostering internal democracy in 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 reins from his mother. 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.

There have also been talks of an apparent comeback, after the Gandhi scion's recent Gujarat visit, where he appeared to have been quite popular amid the crowd.

Of late, the various state units of the party have been adopting unanimous resolutions urging the Congress vice-president to take over the party's reins from his mother. On Thursday too, the Uttarakhand Congress Committee adopted a resolution urging Rahul to take over as party president.

Moved by the leader of Opposition Indira Hridayesh in the state assembly, the resolution was passed unanimously by over 200 party members at a meeting of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC), held at the state party office on Thursday.

"Rahul Gandhi's able leadership will help us fight divisive forces," Hridayesh said.

Senior Congres leader Veerappa Moily also praised Rahul, saying he has given "excellent hope" for the party.

The former Union minister expressed confidence that Rahul would be the "face of the country" in 2019 and become prime minister.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Oct 14, 2017 02:06 AM

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