New Delhi: ‘Congress’ darling’, as former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh fondly referred to Rahul Gandhi a week back, will today be officially declared the party president.
The outgoing party head Sonia Gandhi who van-guarded the party for 19 years will today relinquish her position as the chief and pass on the reins to the 47-year-old heir apparent.
The Congress’ Central Election Authority will announce Rahul Gandhi’s elevation at a press conference slated for 3:30pm today.
He would, however, be handed over the certificate appointing him the party president on December 16 in the presence of Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders.
Sonia Gandhi will officially hand over the mantle of the 132-year-old party to her son around 11 AM after which Rahul Gandhi will meet leaders from across the country at the Congress headquarters, party sources say.
Rahul Gandhi will now become the sixth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to take charge of the Grand Old Party of India .
However, Rahul inherits the Congress mantle at a time when the party is plumbing the depths of political fortunes. It has a miserable 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, its vote share having plummeted to a historic 19.5 per cent low in 2014.
In the past three years, the Congress has faced defeat or failed to make any impact in 15 Assembly elections, and in the process lost several of its strongholds such as Maharashtra, Haryana, Assam and Kerala.
Currently, it is in power in just eight of India’s 29 states, retaining a mere 766 seats in the 4,120 Assembly constituencies across the country.
SONIA TO GUIDE THE DESTINY OF PARTY
The outgoing Congress president Sonia Gandhi will continue to play an effective role and guide the destiny of the party, senior party leader M Veerappa Moily has said.
The former Union minister lauded Gandhi’s leadership and referred to the “manner in which she brought together coalition arrangement” in 2004 and to a certain extent in 2009 while forming the UPA governments. “It was her greatest role of putting people together,” Moily added.