After being made president, Rahul Gandhi may head Congress Parliamentary Party too
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After being made president, Rahul Gandhi may head Congress Parliamentary Party too

Rahul Gandhi, who was made party president last week, chaired a CPP meeting during the winter session of Parliament last year, but was standing in for his mother Sonia.

india Updated: Dec 19, 2017 23:21 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ragul Gandhi,Congress,Sonia Gandhi
Congress president Rahul Gandhi at Parliament house in New Delhi, on December 19, 2017. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is tipped to take over as chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP), senior members of the party said, though they refused to comment on when the change would happen.

Gandhi’s mother Sonia Gandhi is currently the chairperson of the CPP, and the members added that she would continue to be its member.

According to a senior party member, Congress representatives in Parliament will soon elect Gandhi as chairperson of the CPP. This person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the election would happen soon but didn’t elaborate on the timing. As the CPP chairperson, Rahul will have a free hand to nominate leaders, deputy leaders, chief whips and whips in both houses of Parliament.

Rahul chaired a CPP meeting during the winter session of Parliament last year, but he was merely standing in for his mother. He was named the Congress’s president on 16 December after winning an election to the post unopposed. He was also the face of the party during its campaign in the Gujarat assembly election. The Congress won 77 seats in the 182-member house, more than it did in the 2012 elections, and also improved its vote share.

In his first interaction with reporters after the Gujarat results, Rahul said the poll outcome has given a “zabardast jhatka (massive jolt)” to the BJP even as he raised questions about the Prime Minister’s credibility.

He said the Gujarat results indicated that the country was not listening to Modi any more and termed the PM’s Gujarat model of development “good propaganda and able marketing”.

“I came to know in Gujarat that people actually do not accept Modiji’s model,” the Congress president said.

“It was thought that the Congress will not be able to fight the BJP in Gujarat...You saw the results and it has dealt a ‘zabardast jhatka’ to the BJP,” he told reporters.

Rahul also called the Gujarat verdict a moral victory for the Congress.

“We lost, but we could have won...but fell short by a small margin,” he said. “A big question has been raised on Modiji’s credibility. Frankly, Modiji has a credibility problem and he will find it very difficult... Because the country is not listening to that….In coming times, you will see this clearly.”

Countering Rahul, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the poll outcome had actually jolted the Congress.

“We won the state assembly elections in Gujarat for the sixth time. Actually, this is a jolt for the Congress,” he told reporters.

Javadekar alleged that the Congress tried to adopt divisive politics in Gujarat but failed.

The Union minister said he was amused to hear that the Congress president had described the results as a big jolt to the BJP.

“It seems Rahul is under an illusion and enjoying defeat as victory. This shows his dynastic arrogance and is an insult to the people’s mandate,” he said.

First Published: Dec 19, 2017 23:21 IST