Rahul Gandhi Likely to Take Over Congress President


New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi may take over as the Congress President soon after he returns from his Europe tour next week, party sources have said.

On December 27, Mr Gandhi took to Twitter to announce that he will be travelling to Europe for a “few days”, the first time that he has gone public about a trip abroad.

Sources in the party say that the Congress vice president could be back any time after January 8 following which a meeting of Congress Working Committee may also happen.

“He (Rahul) is ready to take on the mantle. It is wrong to say that he does not want to become President. There is also no truth in suggestions that Mr Gandhi may wait till the completion of assembly polls in Assam before he is elevated as Congress President,” a party functionary said on the condition of anonymity.

Despite the indications, there has been no clear word from the party on Mr Gandhi taking over. Congress President Sonia Gandhi had said “ask him” when reporters queried her on the matter on party’s Foundation Day function.

Senior party leader Digvijay Singh had said a few months back that the grassroot Congress workers wanted the elevation to happen soon but the decision can be taken only by the Congress president.

A meeting of the Congress Working Committee in September last year decided to extend the deadline of the completion of party’s internal polls for one more year till 2016. This led to a speculation that Mr Gandhi’s elevation has been advanced for one more year.

The party, however, later indicated that the Congress Vice President could be given the responsibility even earlier and the one year extension is only the upper limit for completing internal polls. Sonia Gandhi’s latest term comes to an end in December this year.

The organizational polls held after five years culminate in the election of the new party President. Mrs Gandhi, who took over as Congress chief in May 1998, is already the longest serving president of the 129-year-old party. Rahul Gandhi was made the Vice President in January 2013.