Rahul likely to be Cong prez next month
TIMES New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi is likely to campaign in the forthcoming Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh polls as Congress president with the party’s organisational elections likely to wrap up soon, paving the way for the leader’s formal elevation as party chief next month.
The completion of the organisational election process will set the stage for a session of the All India Congress Committee in October where Rahul is expected to be elected party president. He is understood to be keen on an electoral process rather than a working committee decision that is ratified by the AICC.
“As things stand, the party’s organisational elections, except in states that are pollbound, will be over soon. Rahul has favoured the electoral process in the organisational reforms he has backed so far. It is expected that he will be elected party president,” senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily told TOI.
In an interaction during his ongoing visit to the US, Rahul said he is ready to be named Congress’s PM nominee but referred to the ongoing organisational elections. The decision will be made by delegates, he said.
The development will see a change in his status as he takes over from mother Sonia Gandhi ahead of the next round assembly elections likely to he held in November. The Gujarat poll, where BJP has been in office since 1998, is crucial for BJP as it will test the party’s resilience after Narendra Modi became PM.
While Gujarat polls will also show if Congress has made gains, it will be defend- ing its hold on office in Himachal Pradesh where CM Virbhadra Singh has been hit with controversies over a disproportionate assets case.
Rahul’s formal election as party president is likely to be followed by an informal division of work with Sonia expected to be involved in the interaction with allies and likely partners ahead of the 2019 poll. But it will bring a new set of younger leaders, close to Rahul, more to the fore even as some of the old guard retain important responsibilities in the organisation.
Rahul taking charge as party president has been long awaited with the leader often seen to have deferred a decision before becoming vice president at a Congress conclave in 2013. Thereafter too he has sidestepped the issue until recently when said he is ready to be formally named the party’s PM nominee.
With the next general elections around 20 months away, the statement during an interaction with a university audience in the US where he is currently on a visit, is seen as linked to his impending elevation. “I am absolutely ready to do that,” he said when asked if he was ready to be named PM nominee, adding that there was a party process and organisational elections were currently under way.
READY TO TAKE CHARGE