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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

Cong reshuffle soon, Rahul still reluctant

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 16, 2013
First Published: 01:04 IST(16/1/2013) | Last Updated: 10:57 IST(16/1/2013)

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is expected to finally reshuffle the organisation after the Jaipur conclave, but general secretary Rahul Gandhi has still not shown any inclination to assume the number two position in the party.

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According to sources, he has also shown no interest in joining the party’s core group — the informal, but supreme, decision making body — despite the growing demand for the 42-year-old scion to take up a larger role in the party.

“He can assume the formal number two position at a time of his choosing. He hasn’t said anything till today,” a senior party functionary told HT. “The only thing certain is that he will lead the party’s 2014 campaign.”

In November last year, Rahul was appointed head of the election coordination committee for the polls with Ahmed Patel, Janardan Dwivedi, Digvijaya Singh, Madhusudan Mistry and Jairam Ramesh as its other members.

“His focus is to strengthen the party across the country. He has even refused the Prime Minister’s offer to join the government,” said another senior leader.

The Amethi MP himself stated recently that he was ready to assume a bigger party role, which has so far been perceived to be a defensive one -- particularly on corruption and inflation.

But Congress leaders have maintained that since Rahul is already the number two in the party, there was no need for any formal coronation. “He is already involved in organisational affairs in a big way. He regularly meets senior leaders on party matters,” said another functionary.

At the party’s maha rally in Delhi in November, Rahul made a rare appearance on the same stage as Sonia and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and was the first speaker among the trio.

A strong votary of intra-party democracy and clean politics, Rahul has on many occasions in the past spoken about opening the “closed political system” to the common man. It is due to his intervention that one-third of the participants at the three-day Jaipur conclave will be from the Youth Congress.


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