NEW DELHI: A renewed clamour to appoint Rahul Gandhi as party president gripped the Congress on Wednesday with its leaders anticipating an imminent organisational reshuffle.
From Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh to its young MP Sushmita Dev, a number of leaders started batting for Rahul’s elevation even as there was no indication when the reshuffle might take place. Any changes would happen only after a Congress working committee meeting to be scheduled shortly, sources said.
“Sonia Gandhi is a brilliant leader. I have said that she (Sonia Gandhi) has been working as party president for the last 20 years. If she feels the time has come to give it to a new generation, then she should pass it on and we will fully support Rahul,” said Singh, also the Punjab Congress chief.
All India Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza said, “The entire Congress has been waiting for this (change) and we are very happy that Rahul Gandhi is going to become the party president.”
Reeling under a series of electoral setbacks, the beleaguered party is looking forward to an organisational reshuffle to boost its revival process.
“It must happen. But we have no clue about any possible date or time frame,” Rahul’s key aide K Raju said. Raju is chairperson of the party’s scheduled caste cell and is involved in almost every important decision-making process.
Even in the past, Congress leaders have enthusiastically spoken publicly about the need for such a change in favour of infusion of fresh blood, more power to Rahul, etc.
Singh clarified he had not spoken to Sonia Gandhi on the issue.
“But what we are coming to know is that she is now feeling the time has come for a new generation, which everyone today is saying,” Singh told reporters.
The BJP took the opportunity to hit back at the Congress over dynastic politics. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the Congress president referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “shahenshah” but crowning “shehzada” (prince) was a “perfect example of the shahenshaiyat”.
“We are hearing news that Rahul Gandhi would be made the Congress president. It is their internal matter. But till yesterday, Sonia Gandhi was referring to Prime Minister Modi as shahenshah and today we are hearing news of her shehzada’s coronation. The entire nation now is watching what the shahenshaiyat actually is,” Patra said.
Congress leaders such as Digvijaya Singh have been seeking Rahul’s elevation since 2014. A section of Congressmen even wanted him to replace Manmohan Singh as prime minister towards the end of the UPA regime.
Party insiders point out that Rahul is already taking key decisions while Sonia remains president. In case he takes the top job, Sonia might continue as leader of the Congress parliamentary party.