Rahul Gandhi is likely to take over the reins of Congress in October, the much-speculated change of guard coming ahead of key assembly elections and just one and half years before the Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress Working Committee formally approved the calendar for organisational elections which are already under way. The internal polls, deferred by two years, have set a month-long schedule for the election of Congress president, state presidents and state bodies, from September 16-October 15. Senior Congress members said Rahul will take over during this time, ending the uncertainty over his elevation.
Party managers have attributed the two-year delay in organisational elections to Rahul’s reluctance to step into his mother’s shoes yet. While Rahul has taken centre-stage in party affairs for last many months, chairing meetings and deciding on appointments, the process appeared set for a big leap on Tuesday when some CWC members said that Rahul should address the press on the deliberations of the day. The scion is said to have been ready before it was ultimately decided that veterans led by Ghulam Nabi Azad, AK Antony and P Chidambaram should field the media.
The generational change would mark a major milestone in Congress history after Sonia Gandhi’s 18-year stint at the top — she is likely to step down for her son to file the nomination for the top job. For the Gandhi clan, it would be the fifth member to hold the reins of Congress, this time with the chief-designate widely seen as a reluctant draftee who has finally reconciled to the lifetime responsibility of shepherding Congress.
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