Rahul Gandhi Takes Over As Congress President As Sonia Gandhi Retires: Highlights

At the Congress headquarters today, Sonia Gandhi gave her final speech as leader of the Congress party, soon after which Rahul Gandhi gave his first speech as Congress president. In his speech, Congress President Rahul Gandhi laid out his vision of the Congress party and spoke about what his key areas of focus will be. He also criticised the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Rahul Gandhi Takes Over As Congress President As Sonia Gandhi Retires: Highlights

Rahul Gandhi takes over as Congress President from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who retired from the post

New Delhi:  Rahul Gandhi officially took charge as Congress chief today. He took over the reins from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who became Congress president in 1998 and steered the 132-year-old political party for 19 years. Mr Gandhi, who has often been seen as a reluctant politician, was named the chief-to-be on Monday after no one else from his party challenged him in the internal election. Rahul Gandhi's elevation caps years of speculation about his new role. It also comes nearly two months after Sonia Gandhi told NDTV that a promotion for her son was due soon. Till his promotion, Rahul Gandhi held the post of Congress vice-president, which he held since January 2013. Rahul Gandhi was given a formal certificate of being elected the Congress president. He was elected unopposed from the party's central election authority at a function at the Congress party headquarters in New Delhi. At the Congress headquarters today, Sonia Gandhi gave her final speech as leader of the Congress party, soon after which Rahul Gandhi gave his first speech as Congress president. In his speech, Congress President Rahul Gandhi laid out his vision of the Congress party and spoke about what his key areas of focus will be. He also criticised the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 

Here are the highlights of Rahul Gandhi officially taking over as Congress President:

 


Dec 16, 2017
20:19 (IST)
Watch: Rahul Gandhi's Full Speech After Taking Over As Congress President

Dec 16, 2017
20:15 (IST)

Dec 16, 2017
20:14 (IST)

Dec 16, 2017
20:07 (IST)
"Politics Today Being Used To Crush People": 5 Quotes Of New Congress President Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi, who officially took over as Congress president from his mother Sonia Gandhi this morning, slammed the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first speech in his new role, saying the PM is "taking us back to medieval times." Mr Gandhi, 47, is the fifth member of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to lead the Congress; no one challenged his elevation in the organization election that critics describe as a sham." itemprop="description
Dec 16, 2017
14:49 (IST)
Watch: Full Speech Of Sonia Gandhi As Rahul Gandhi Becomes Congress President

Dec 16, 2017
14:45 (IST)
Watch: In First Speech As Congress President, Rahul Gandhi Attacks PM Modi

Dec 16, 2017
14:41 (IST)
Watch: Rahul Gandhi Talks About "Politics Of Today". Here's What He Had To Say

Dec 16, 2017
14:35 (IST)
Watch: Sonia Gandhi Says "Can't Speak" After Firecrackers Force Her To Stop Speech

Dec 16, 2017
11:59 (IST)
Congress president Rahul Gandhi ends his speech by thanking his mother and former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for being a "guiding force."


(Rahul Gandhi thanks his mother Sonia Gandhi after his first speech as Congress President)
Dec 16, 2017
11:57 (IST)
Rahul Gandhi today addressed Congress party workers and leaders for the first time as Congress President. In his speech, new Congress chief Rahul Gandhi laid out his vision of the Congress party and spoke about what his key areas of ficus will be. He also criticised the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Here are the highlights of Rahul Gandhi's first speech as Congress President:

  • Like many Indians across the country, I am an idealist.
  • Congress is an ancient idea. BJP would have you believe they are oldest idea in the universe, as usual this is not the truth. In India,there are 2 ideas that have clashed, idea of self vs the other. BJP are soldiers fighting for self. Congress guided by service of community.
  • When I joined politics at 34, I learnt that moment you stand up for the poor and challenge those who hold the seat of power, they will come after you.
  • Today we live in a time when India is being led by those who have regressive mindsets.
  • These regressive forces win not because they deserve to, but because they are powerful and misuse that power.
  • Congress took India to the 21st century, but the PM, today, is taking us back to medieval times. Today we see that the country being led by someone who thinks he alone represents India. While the Congress took India to the 21st century, he is taking India to the medieval ages, where you hear and see killings, hate and fires everyday. Nobody else seems to have a voice except him.
  • Such people win only when no one stands up to them...when people back down. But I promise you this; we will never ever back down. We will always challenge them every step of the way.
  • Politics belongs to the people, but today politics is not being used for people. It is not being used to uplift people, but is used to crush them.
  • Many of us are disillusioned by the politics of our time. Today, politics is devoid of kindness and truth.
  • We are now being compelled to imagine that businesses can be built without harmony that only one man himself is the voice of reason. Expertise, experience and knowledge can be cast aside for personal glory.
  • I want the Congress party to act as an instrument of dialogue between the people of India. I want the Congress party to promote peace and harmony.
  • Once fire breaks out it is difficult to douse it, that is what we are telling the people of BJP, that if you set the nation on fire it will be difficult to control. Today BJP has spread the fire of violence across the country.
  • We try and try again to explain to the BJP that once you light the fire and divide the people, it will be very difficult to extinguish it. But they never listen, nor do they learn. All they do is promote hate and violence. They break, we join; they set fire, we douse it; they spread hate, we spread love; they divide, we bring people together. That is what tells us apart.
  • The Congress is known as the 'grand old party', but we will now make it the 'grand old new party'.
  • Unlike the BJP, which talk of a Congress-free India, our vision of inclusion for India also includes the BJP. Even those in the BJP are our brothers and sisters, though we might not agree with them. That is the difference between us and them. Unlike them, we do not respond to hate with hate. We respond to hate with love.
  • It is with deepest humility, that I accept this position (of Congress President) knowing that I will always be walking in the shadow of giants.

(Rahul Gandhi makes his first speech as Congress President, laying out the vision for the Congress party for the years ahead)
Dec 16, 2017
11:46 (IST)
Sonia Gandhi attacks BJP

Since 2014, we have been in the opposition. I must say that we have never in India's past been staring at such testing times. Those in power today are weakening the pillars of our constitution. but we will never let them succeed. We will never, ever, give up. Protecting and uniting India is our duty. My duty, your duty.

Rahul is my son, so I do not think for me to praise him is right but I would say that since childhood he had to bear the brunt of violence, after joining politics he had to face blatant personal attacks, that have made him a stronger person

Dec 16, 2017
11:41 (IST)
Sonia Gandhi on why she joined politics

When I realised the Congress party is getting weaker after my husband's death, then I had to listen to my party's 'cheekh' (voice)
Dec 16, 2017
11:38 (IST)
Sonia Gandhi addressed Congress party workers "for the last time" as leader of the Congress party. She congratulated her son Rahul Gandhi who took over as Congress president - a post she held since 1998. During her speech she also spoke about her initial days in politics and how Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi guided her at the start.

Here are the highlights of Sonia Gandhi's last speech as leader of the Congress after Rahul Gandhi became Congress President:

  • I congratulate Rahul Gandhi for officially taking over as Congress President today.
  • This is new beginning, a new hope for the Congress. This is my last speech to you all as leader of the Congress party.
  • Two decades ago, when you chose me as Congress chief, I remember my hands were trembling as I addressed you all. I didn't know how I would be able to handle such a great responsibility. But the love you all showed gave me courage. I thank you all for being so supportive.
  • I was introduced to politics for the first time after marrying Rajiv Gandhi. Indira Gandhi was a big support.
  • This family has done so much for the country. They have given their lives for the country.
  • Indira Gandhi took me into the family as her daughter and supported me at every stage. When she was assassinated in 1984, I felt like my mother was taken from me.
  • A great responsibility suddenly came upon my husband Rajiv Gandhi, with whom, I remember travelling the length and breadth of India.
  • India had many challenges at that time, which Rajiv Gandhi handled with you all to steer India to what we see today. I salute Indira and Rajiv Gandhi for their invaluable contribution to India.
  • I thank you all for supporting me throughout my political career. Together, we have kept India united.
  • Since 2014, we have been in the opposition. I must say that we have never, in India's history, been staring at such testing times. Those in power today are weakening the very pillars of our constitution. But we will never let them succeed. We will never, ever, give up. Protecting and uniting India is our duty. My duty, your duty.
  • If we do not stand by our values, how will we protect and safeguard the common man? How will we ensure a free and united India. I urge you all to do your best.
  • India today is a young nation, and you have now chosen Rahul Gandhi to lead you. Rahul Gandhi is my son, and it would not be right of me to praise him as he takes office. But I can say this, that in these testing times, he has stood up to dangerous men in power. He has faced challenges with courage and will steer the party in the correct direction.
  • I thank you all for your support over all these years.

(Sonia Gandhi congratulates Rahul Gandhi for being elected Congress president)
Dec 16, 2017
11:36 (IST)
The firecrackers finally stop a good five to seven minutes after a visibly irate Sonia Gandhi signals to supporters telling them to stop bursting cracker while she is speaking.


Dec 16, 2017
11:30 (IST)
Sonia Gandhi's Speech Interrupted By Noise Of Firecrackers At Congress Headquarters
Sonia Gandhi starts to address party workers as she hands over the post of Congress president to her son Rahul Gandhi but her speech in interrupted by the bursting of crackers outside the Congress headquarters in Delhi. The crackers are so loud that Mrs Gandhi pauses her speech and signals to the supporters at the gate to stop the bursting of crackers.

The celebrations do not stop and a visibly upset Mrs Gandhi says she "can't speak like this." She even signals to senior party members that the smoke from the firecrackers is affecting her throat.


(During her last speech as leader of the Congress, Sonia Gandhi is interrupted by the noise of firecrackers at the Congress headquarters)
Dec 16, 2017
11:24 (IST)
Addressing party workers on Rahul Gandhi's elevation, former prime minister Manmohan Singh called it a "historic day for India". He also said that it was an emotional moment for him.

Here are the highlights of Manmohan Singh's speech after Rahul Gandhi became Congress President:


  • Today is a historic day for India.
  • Please pardon me if I get somewhat emotional on such a historic day.
  • I remember a letter that Jawaharlal Nehru ji had written to Indira Gandhi ji stating that one should be able to hold ones emotions on important occasions, but I seek your forgiveness should I get emotional today.
  • Sonia Gandhi has guided the party for 19 years. Under her magnificent leadership, the party has seen many achievements - one of them being India reaching its highest growth rate ever. She has led the party with courage and humility.
  • Today, after 19 remarkable years, she hands over the leadership of the party to Rahul Gandhi.
  • Rahul ji, we look forward to your leadership. I am confident that Congress will reach new heights under your guidance.
  • Today, the politics of hope has been changed to politics of fear. Rahul ji, these are testing times for the country. We look up to you to steer India back to the politics of hope and raise the much needed issues of poverty and unemployment. You take over as Congress chief at this crucial junction. I wish you all the best.

(Former prime minister Manmohan Singh congratulated Rahul Gandhi, who took over as Congress president today)
Dec 16, 2017
11:14 (IST)
Rahul Gandhi is presented with a certificate that formally names him as the new Congress President. From here on, Mr Gandhi is officially the top boss of the Congress party.


(Rahul Gandhi is handed a certificate officially stating that he has, from this instance, taken over as Congress President)
Dec 16, 2017
11:10 (IST)
All rise as Vande Mataram is played at the Congress party headquarters. Rahul Gandhi is now officially 'Congress President'.


(Live photos from the Congress headquarters in Delhi. Rahul Gandhi is formally named 'Congress President')
Dec 16, 2017
11:07 (IST)
Breaking News: Rahul Gandhi has formally taken over as Congress president. He takes charge as Congress chief from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who is also present at the party headquarters.
Dec 16, 2017
11:05 (IST)
Update: Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh reach the Congress party headquarters in Delhi for Rahul Gandhi's elevation as Congress president. They take stage at the lawns outside the office building in New Delhi. 'Vande Mataram' is played as the leaders arrive.


(Live shots from the Congress Party headquarters as Rahul Gandhi takes over as Congress president)
Dec 16, 2017
11:01 (IST)
Rahul Gandhi's supporters have welcomed the move to elevate him as Congress president. They believe that Rahul Gandhi will bring good fortune to the Congress, and bring back lost glory to the party whose fortunes have seen a downswing.


(Rahul Gandhi's supporters cheer as he takes charge as Congress chief today)
Dec 16, 2017
10:41 (IST)
The elevation of Rahul Gandhi as Congress chief is being seen as a historic move by partymen, who believe that Mr Gandhi will bring new energy to the party which has come under severe criticism and pressure losing one election after another since 2014. Many in the party believe that Rahul Gandhi will bring a much-needed change in the functioning of the Congress party.


(File Photo: Rahul Gandhi has been leading from the front over the last few months after his mother and former Congress chief took a backseat due to health reasons)
Dec 16, 2017
10:30 (IST)
Ladoos seem to be everyone's favourite outside the Congress party headquarters today. Some distributed besan ke ladoo, while others celebrate by feeding each other motichoor ke ladoo. The Congress headquarters is bubbling with energy as Rahul Gandhi formally takes over as Congress chief today.


(Supporters of Rahul Gandhi and Congress cheer and celebrate as Rahul Gandhi takes charge as Congress chief. The formal announcement will be made at 11 am today)
Dec 16, 2017
10:20 (IST)
Celebrations have been on outside the Congress party headquarters since last evening and have gained momentum this morning as party workers and supporters cheer for Rahul Gandhi as he takes over as Congress president today. In this photo below, Rahul Gandhi's supporters celebrate his taking charge as Congress chief with sweets (ladoos) laid out for all to have.


(Party workers and supporters celebrate as Rahul Gandhi takes charge as Congress president today)
Dec 16, 2017
10:04 (IST)
Rahul Gandhi was elevated as the party's vice president in January 2013 and has since then, operated as the party's number 2. Mrs Gandhi, 70, the party's longest-serving chief, has been keeping unwell in recent years and had scaled back her public engagements, pushing to the fore Rahul Gandhi. Yesterday, Sonia Gandhi abdicated the post of Congress president giving way for Rahul Gandhi to take over. She then announced that "My role now is to retire." Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala later clarified that Mrs Gandhi has retired as Congress president and not from politics. He said Sonia Gandhi will hand over the baton to Rahul Gandhi but her wisdom will continue to be the guiding light for the Congress party.


(File Photo: Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi at the Congress party headquarters in Delhi. Rahul Gandhi takes charge as Congress president today after Sonia Gandhi retired from the post yesterday)
Dec 16, 2017
09:47 (IST)
Formalities aside, Rahul Gandhi is, however, already believed to have taken charge. It was Rahul Gandhi who had rebuked veteran leader Mani Shankar Aiyar when he scored a goal against his own team with his "neech aadmi" comment against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and later decided to suspend the Gandhi family loyalist.
Dec 16, 2017
09:46 (IST)
Though he was scheduled to take over as party chief earlier, Rahul Gandhi, who spent much of the last several weeks in Gujarat, reportedly decided to put off his promotion because he did not want the party leaders to get distracted from the immediate challenge in the crucial state.
Dec 16, 2017
09:45 (IST)
Rahul Gandhi taking charge as Congress president marks a generational shift at the top of India's oldest political party, a move that could have trickle-down effects too. Mr Gandhi's promotion, however, comes at a tumultuous time. The Gujarat election, where the final phase of voting was held this week, was the first time that Rahul Gandhi led the party's campaign from the front. Though his party billed it as a sign of an overhauled public image, nearly all exit polls have predicted the Congress losing to the BJP by a large margin. The Congress is also widely expected to lose Himachal Pradesh. Results for both the state elections will be declared on Monday.
Dec 16, 2017
09:41 (IST)
Till his promotion, Rahul Gandhi held the post of Congress vice-president, which he held since January 2013. At 11 am today, Rahul Gandhi will receive a formal certificate of being elected the Congress president unopposed from the party's central election authority at a function at the Congress party headquarters in New Delhi.
Dec 16, 2017
09:40 (IST)
Rahul Gandhi, who has often been seen as a reluctant politician, was named the chief-to-be on Monday after no one else from his party challenged him in the internal election. His elevation caps years of speculation about his new role. It also comes nearly two months after Sonia Gandhi told NDTV that a promotion for her son was due soon.
Dec 16, 2017
09:38 (IST)
Congress president-designate Rahul Gandhi will officially take charge as Congress chief today. He will take over the reigns from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who became Congress president in 1998 and steered the 132-year-old political party for 19 years.
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