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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

Leaders want Rahul to lead from the front, Congress yet to decide

PTI  Jaipur, January 19, 2013
First Published: 12:52 IST(19/1/2013) | Last Updated: 18:55 IST(19/1/2013)

Rahul Gandhi is expected to be given a larger role in the Congress anytime soon, party leaders indicated on Saturday amid growing clamour for declaring him as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the party.

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At the end of the chintan shivir (brainstorming conclave), several Union ministers, chief ministers and party leaders gave felt that an announcement about Rahul’s new role could be out even as early as by tomorrow.

Talk is that Rahul, now a general secretary, could be made the working president or secretary general so that he gets a higher profile for projection in the next Lok Sabha elections.

While a meeting of the Congress Working Committee is scheduled Saturday evening, the AICC meeting  meeting on Sunday, which will come out with a Jaipur Declaration..

"Wait till tomorrow," was the cryptic response of Union minister Jyotiaraditya Scindia when asked about a formal promotion to the young leader who is already number two in the party.


"He is a mature leader and has been taking major decisions informally".

"We have been expecting it for long. It should have happened earlier," said Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan when asked whether Rahul was likely to be made working president of the party on Sunday.

Insisting that the party needed to have a young leader to connect with the youth, he said that youth constituency is very important at a time when the majority of the population is below 45.

"For connecting with the youth, you have to speak a different language which is not possible for the people of previous generation", he said.

"He should be made our role model," remarked CWC member Jagmeet Brar saying that it was high time the party gave up its "wavering" and declare Rahul as "the Leader who will lead us in the battle for the LokSabha polls".

Union Minister Rajiv Shukla said "we hope a decision will be taken keeping in mind the sentiments expressed.

"There has been demand for entrusting Rahul with a bigger responsibility of leading the party the 2014 polls. Beyond this any decision has to be taken by Congress President Sonia Gandhi".

He was asked whether Rahul will be made the PM candidate.

"We want him to play a far bigger role in 2014 elections. Youth have been the focus in this Shivir," said Union minister Jitin Prasada.

"Rahul is the asset of the party", remarked party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury.

Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi parried answers to questions on Rahul but said  the party has always looked after aspirations of the youth.

"A decision is on the cards on expected lines," said another party general secretary BK Hari Prasad.

AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh has already said that the sentiment among partymen was for giving "larger and predominant" role to Rahul.

Union minister Vayalar Ravi and senior leader Manishankar Aiyar also batted for bigger responsibility for Rahul as the party recognised the need to respond to the demands of a "new changing India peopled by a more younger" generation.

Young leader Milind Deora said that it is a consensus of the shivir that youth should be empowered.

Chavan dismissed suggestions that a larger role for Rahul will create two power centres in the party and relegate Sonia Gandhi.


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