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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Rahul will take over Congress reins soon, says party chief Sonia Gandhi

The party president was speaking at the release of former president Pranab Mukherjee’s autobiography. Sources said Rahul will likely take over after Diwali.

india Updated: Oct 14, 2017 00:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress president Sonia Gandhi with vice president Rahul Gandhi in December 2015.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi with vice president Rahul Gandhi in December 2015. (Sushil Kumar/HT File Photo)

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday said Rahul Gandhi will soon take over the reins of the party.

“You have been asking this for so many years and it’s now happening,” she told NDTV at a function to release former president Pranab Mukherjee’s autobiography, The Coalition Years 1996-2012.

Congress sources said Rahul is set to take over as the party chief anytime after Diwali.

Majority of the state Congress units barring poll-bound Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland have completed their organisational elections though without any contest.

Almost all states have passed unanimous resolution, demanding the elevation of Rahul as the party chief.

Delhi was the first state to do so.

After the party’s Central Election Authority (CEA), which is overseeing the organisational polls, receives the list of delegates and resolutions from all the states, the process of electing the new Congress president will begin.

The CEA members will meet Sonia Gandhi to apprise her of the completion of various phases of the organisational polls.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body, will then be called to finalise the dates of filing and withdrawal of nominations for the top post.

Congress sources said the nomination process could be completed by October 25 and the CWC was likely to meet before Diwali.

The initial poll schedule circulated by the CEA to all state units and office bearers had specified that the elections will take place between September 16 and October 15. However, the grand old party was running behind that schedule.

At its meeting on November 7 last year, the CWC had unanimously appealed to Rahul to take over the reins of the 131-year-old party. Founded on December 28, 1885, the Congress is India’s oldest political party. Sonia Gandhi holds the record of being the party chief for more than 19 consecutive years after taking over from Sitaram Kesri in March 1998.

During her entire tenure, Sonia Gandhi had to face contest only once. She defeated Jitendra Prasada — who had served as political advisor to former prime ministers Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao — in a one-sided contest on November 9, 2000.

Once the Congress president is chosen, it will be followed by the elections to the CWC. As per the party constitution, 12 of the 25 CWC members have to be elected by AICC delegates, and the rest are appointed by the Congress president.

The CWC has not witnessed any election in more than two decades now. The last time CWC witnessed a contest was in 1997 during the Kolkata plenary and prior to that in 1992 at the Tirupati session.

First Published: Oct 13, 2017 20:57 IST

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