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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Rahul eyeing long-term goal

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 28, 2012
First Published: 00:04 IST(28/10/2012) | Last Updated: 00:06 IST(28/10/2012)

As the social media and news channels fiercely speculated the extent of Rahul Gandhi’s imprint in the cabinet reshuffle, the 43-year-old Congress general secretary spent a relatively quiet day at his 12, Tughlaq Lane residence in Delhi on Saturday. He avoided meeting any of the ministerial hopefuls, said sources close to him.

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Gandhi held meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this month and is believed to have played a key role in selecting the new entrants, especially the young faces, in the reshuffle.

Congress’ organisational reshuffle may happen soon after Sunday’s cabinet rejig. The Congress leadership hopes that Gandhi will take up a larger role in the organisation, which may even include an elevation as the working president.

Top Congress sources, however, claimed that while most in the party were engrossed with the reshuffle, Gandhi has kept his focus firmly on long-term plans to revive the organisation. During the past few weeks, Gandhi regularly held meetings with key leaders to evolve strategies for the next election.

Some of the meetings have taken place at the Congress’ unofficial ‘war room’ at Delhi’s Gurdwara Rakabganj Road. On Friday, at the latest round of strategy session, he reportedly gave specific responsibilities to trusted aides like Digvijaya Singh, Janardan Dwivedi and Jairam Ramesh to prepare for the 2014 elections.

Apart from touring the states, Gandhi holds regular meetings in Delhi with state unit representatives. “He always keeps a lot of data and papers with him during these interactions. Whenever leaders suggest names for key posts, Gandhi refers to his data bank and discusses the record of the concerned candidates,” said a senior leader from Bihar, who met Gandhi during one such interaction.

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