Amid talk that Rahul Gandhi could become Congress president as early as next month, the party today dismissed as "incorrect and needless speculation" that it has decided to postpone the AICC session to September, thereby delaying a change at the helm by another six months.
"News appearing in a certain section of media suggesting deferment of AICC sesssion to September is incorrect and needless speculation aimed at creating political confusion.
"As the dates of the AICC session will be decided, we shall appropriately inform all concerned," Congress Communication department in-charge Randeep Surjewala said.
His reaction came on the heels of reports that a change at the top in the Congress was not possible till September as the party high command had decided to postpone the AICC session, earlier being planned this month.
The report had quoted an unnamed leader to say that there was a proposal to call off a special AICC session to effect organisational changes that would "reflect the sentiments of a large section" of the Congress. "The Congress president can use her discretionary powers to convene a special session. But this is not the plan anymore," the leader had said.
The report had said that Rahul, expected to return from his leave of absence soon, would want to have five-six months to be on top of issues. There have been reports that he would participate in a party rally on April 19 called to protest the Land Acquisition Bill.
There have been disparate voices in the Congress about the need to appoint Rahul Gandhi the party president and give him a free hand in steering a new course and also make structural changes following a string of electoral reverses.
Some senior leaders like Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh have openly said it was high time Rahul was elevated. Leaders like Amarinder Singh and Sandeep Dikshit have, however, made a strong pitch for continuance of Sonia Gandhi as the "leader".
Amarinder Singh had said Rahul should continue as party vice president as he would learn a lot of things from Sonia, while assisting her in running the organisation.
Dikshit had even gone to the extent of saying Sonia Gandhi is the "leader" for "99 per cent of" partymen and that she is needed at the helm "at this time" more than ever before.
Talk is that the issue of next Congress president will gain momentum once Rahul returns from his sabbatical. Sonia Gandhi, who has helmed the party for 17 years, had told the media in Amethi last week that he will be "back soon".