New Delhi | Rahul Gandhi’s appointment as Congress president on Tuesday appeared imminent with members of the Congress Working Committee, its highest decision making body, unanimously voicing “strong sentiment” for his elevation for the first time at a meeting which Sonia Gandhi gave a miss.
It was party veteran A K Antony who set the ball rolling at the meeting, which lasted for four hours, when he spoke about the need for Rahul to take over the mantle of the 130-year-old party from her mother and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. All other members, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh followed suit.
“Members unanimously expressed their strong sentiment that accepting the wishes of crores of Congress workers and well wishers, Rahul Gandhi take over as the president of the Congress party”, Antony told reporters while briefing on the deliberations.
Antony said all members including Manmohan Singh, insisted it was “high time” Rahul took over as party chief and the Congress mobilised “all forces” to take on “anti-people and dictatorial” policies of the Modi government.
Rahul, who presided over the meeting as Sonia Gandhi was reportedly indisposed, said he was ready to accept whatever responsibility is bestowed upon him by the Congress president and the CWC, in “fighting for the idea of India.”
At the briefing, both Antony and chief party spokesman Randeep Surjewala evaded questions as to when exactly Rahul would take over the reins of the party from his mother and whether it would happen on November 19, the day the AICC has organised a grand celebration on the birth centenary of Indira Gandhi.
“We are very hopeful”, a senior party leader said when asked whether the elevation would happen before UP assembly polls.
Sonia Gandhi has created a record by being at the helm of the 130-year-old organisation since early 1998 succeeding the late Sitaram Kesri who was ousted by the CWC.
“It is for the first time that the CWC is making such a recommendation. We are sure that the Congress President would give it proper care and attention”, Antony said replying to a volley of questions on the issue.
Surjewala said senior CWC members would personally meet the party chief as a “follow up” action regarding their recommendation for Rahul’s elevation. After Sonia takes a decision, the CWC would meet again to formally ratify it.
Rahul was appointed party vice-president in January 2013 at Congress’s brainstorming session in Jaipur.
The talk about his elevation has been going on for quite some time now. Leaders like Jairam Ramesh had even insisted that Rahul was the “de facto” leader who has to become “de jure”.