New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi, the 46-year-old No 2 in the Congress, must urgently accept a promotion to take his mother's job, the party's top decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee, urged today.
- Congress Working Committee asks Rahul Gandhi to become party no 1
- Since 1998, Rahul Gandhis mother, Sonia, has been President
- Congress agrees Sonia Gandhi will remain president for another year
The group "unanimously appealed" to Mr Gandhi to serve as President, a post his mother, Sonia Gandhi, has held since 1998.
The request - a long-pending one repeated nearly every year - is unlikely to be granted for now with the Congress agreeing to move elections for party posts to next year. The Election Commission will be informed of the delay, said party sources. Mrs Gandhi, 69, skipped today's meeting, she was reportedly unwell and her office unofficially said it would not be appropriate to attend when a decision was being taken for extension of her presidentship to continue.
But Mr Gandhi was reassured once more by over 30 members of the working committee that the top job is his for the taking.
The vote of confidence comes after Mr Gandhi, who led the party's disastrous election effort in 2014, has been unable to reverse a trend of losses in states including Assam and Kerala. His next big test is Uttar Pradesh, due to vote soon, where the Congress won just 26 of the state's 403 assembly seats in the last state election. In the 2014 general election, the Gandhis were the only Congress leaders to win their parliamentary constituencies.
Mr Gandhi has in recent days taken on the government over the issue of soldiers' pensions, arguing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has "lied" about granting the One Rank One Pension scheme (OROP), which equalizes pension payments between former servicemen serving at the same rank and for the same amount of time.
Last week, Mr Gandhi was detained thrice in 48 hours for attempting to meet with the family of a retired soldier who committed suicide, accusing the government of not paying him his pension.