Rahul Gandhi is set to be elevated as Congress president in April, reports said, despite the embarrassment over his inopportune sabbatical during the Budget Session of Parliament.
NDTV quoting unnamed sources in the party said Rahul will replace his mother Sonia Gandhi at a session of the All India Congress Committee in April.
The report also said that Sonia, who has been leading the party since 1998, held talks with a cross section of Congress leaders, who endorsed the decision.
The Economic Times reported that senior Congress leaders were pushing to convert the special AICC session in April into a three-day mega plenary session to crown 44-year-old Rahul as party president.
The report also said influential party leaders have told Rahul that after taking over as president, he should lead with a new, younger team.
Rahul, presently the Congress vice-president, has had a disappointing run so far with the party suffering a series of poll disasters, including a wipeout in the Delhi elections during his tenure.
Other indications of Rahul's likely elevation have come from senior party leaders close to the Gandhi family. "I think that the time has come where Rahul Gandhi must be given the full responsibility. He must shoulder the responsibility and then it is up to him to succeed or fail," senior leader Kamal Nath told NDTV.
"Rahul Gandhi should be made president of the party and he should be in a commanding position to make a roadmap which will take the party forward or not. Sonia Gandhi should continue to mentor the party," he added.
Digvijaya Singh, another senior leader close to the family, sought to explain Rahul's 'leave of absence', saying he was angry that the old guard close to his mother was stalling important reforms proposed by him.
"He will continue not only as an MP, but he also has a larger role in the Congress at the national level," Singh told Karan Thapar on Headlines Today.
These statements have added to the speculation that despite the criticism over his absence during a key session of Parliament, the Congress is building up for his immediate coronation as party president.