Rahul Gandhi To Be Named Congress Boss Today, Takes Charge on Saturday

Mr Gandhi would be declared elected after the window to withdraw nomination ends. It is an elevation that is a formality because he was the only Congress leader to file his nomination papers for the top job.

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Rahul Gandhi To Be Named Congress Boss Today, Takes Charge on Saturday

Mr Gandhi will formally take charge of the party from Sonia Gandhi, 70, on Saturday, December 16 (File)


New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi is set to be named Congress president today in place of his mother Sonia Gandhi, a generational shift at the top that could start trickling down too. But Mr Gandhi, who has often been seen as a reluctant politician, will take over the reins of India's oldest political party a few days later.

Mr Gandhi would be declared elected after the window to withdraw nomination ends. It is an elevation that is a formality because he was the only Congress leader to file his nomination papers for the top job.

Mr Gandhi would, however, formally take charge of the party from Sonia Gandhi, 70, on Saturday, December 16. The Gujarat election is the first time that Rahul Gandhi is leading the party's campaign from the front and his public meetings have been attracting, what party leaders describe as, an enthusiastic response from the public.

Mr Gandhi, who has spent much of the last several weeks leading the party's campaign 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 Gujarat.

Or for that matter, give Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has already pitched the Gujarat elections as a battle between "vikaswaad (development) and vanshwad (dynasty), any more ammunition.

But formalities apart, he 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 "PM Modi is a neech aadmi" comment and later decided to suspend the Gandhi family loyalist.

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, 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.

Mrs Gandhi will continue to head the Congress Parliamentary Party. This will ensure that she may be asked to lead some of the party's external dealings with allies and other opposition parties, including on floor strategy in Parliament.

Sources told NDTV that the generational shift would trickle down to other posts as Mr Gandhi gets down to forming his team over the next few months but he was likely to draw on the experience of the party's "old guard" in advisory roles.


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