Highlights: Rahul Gandhi only valid candidate, set to take over as Congress chief on Dec 11
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Highlights: Rahul Gandhi only valid candidate, set to take over as Congress chief on Dec 11

Rahul Gandhi appeared certain to be named president of the Congress party. The 47-year-old Gandhi would soon take over from his mother Sonia, who has led the Congress for 19 years.
Dec 05, 2017 16:18 IST
By HT Correspondent
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is being greeted by former president Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi on Monday.
Dec 05, 2017 04:18 PM IST


Dec 05, 2017 04:16 PM IST

Rahul only valid nominated candidate for Cong prez poll

Returning officer M Ramachandran says Rahul Gandhi is only validly nominated candidate in the fray for Congress president election.

Dec 05, 2017 09:56 AM IST

Winds of change

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is set to take over as the party’s president on December 11 after he was the only one to file the nomination for the post on Monday, the last day to do so.  

Gandhi will take over the reins of the party from his mother Sonia Gandhi who has steered the party for the past 19 years. 

He will be the sixth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to occupy the party’s highest position in its 131 years of existence.  Gandhi was made the Congress’s deputy chief in January 2013.

The Congress central election authority, which oversees organisational polls, received as many as 89 sets of nomination papers for Gandhi, including from proposers such as his mother, former prime minister Singh and other Congress Working Committee members. 

Dec 05, 2017 09:56 AM IST

Challenges ahead

Rahul's presidency is expected to mark a generational shift in the party that is struggling with a series of electoral setbacks, including its worst drubbing when it won just 44 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls after 10 years in power.

Gandhi’s task will be to revive and rebuild the Congress to make it fighting fit for the 2019 elections. A good show in the Gujarat assembly polls this December, where he is leading the party campaign from the front, will give a good start to his new innings.

The Congress’s fortunes hinge on its revival in the states. After Gujarat, his next challenges will be to retain Karnataka and dethrone the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan before the 2019 parliamentary elections.

Congress leaders suggest Gandhi may now go for an overhaul, while striking a balance between young leaders and the old guard, which had reservations about his style of functioning in the past.

The parliamentarian for Amethi has long had the reputation of being a reluctant leader, though analysts say he has displayed greater political acumen since the 2014 election defeat.

Dec 05, 2017 09:55 AM IST

Tug of war

Shortly after Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination for the Congress president post, Prime Minister Narendra Modi compared the opposition leader’s expected “elevation” to the “Aurangzeb Raj”. 

“I congratulate the Congress on their ‘Aurangzeb Raj.’ For us, the wellbeing of the people matters and 125 crore Indians are our high command,” Modi said while addressing a public meeting in Dharampur constituency in Gujarat.

“Congress has gone bankrupt as it is going to make a person who is out on bail in corruption case its president,” Modi, said without referring to the National Herald case, in which Rahul has got a bail.

Amid criticism of the election process that has even drawn flak from a Maharashtra Congress leader, Mani Shankar Aiyar rushed to the 47-year-old Gandhi scion’s defence even as the BJP targeted the opposition party over dynasty politics.

“When Shah Jahan came in the place of Jahangir did any election happen? And when Aurangzeb came in place of Shah Jahan did any election happen? It was known to everyone that the throne of the king will automatically go to the heir.”

The Congress veteran was replying to a question about the BJP’s criticism following Maharashtra leader Shehzad Poonawalla’s charge that the process of electing the party’s president was “rigged”.

Poonawalla alleged that party’s spokesperson Manish Tewari had told him during a conversation that the Congress was a “proprietorship” like every other political party in India. He also said he had information that the delegates, who were going to vote for the election, were fixed.

“But in a democracy elections are held. I openly invite Poonawalla to file the nomination and contest,” Aiyar said and asked if anyone has heard of Poonawala.

Dec 05, 2017 09:51 AM IST

Darling of Congress

Rahul Gandhi, 47, visited the homes of former PM Manmohan Singh, former President Pranab Mukherjee and his mother to seek blessings before filing his nomination around 11am on Monday.

“Rahulji has been the darling of the Congress ... He will carry on the great tradition of the Congress party,” former prime minister Manmohan Singh gushed, as jubilant Congress workers thronged the party headquarters in the national capital.

Another senior Congress leader Dr. Karan Singh said time has come for Gandhi to take over the commands of the party from his mother, Sonia.

“Sonia ji took Congress to new heights. She brought the party to Centre twice, we won many elections under her leadership and now it is time for Rahul Gandhi to take the party forward,” Singh told reporters outside the AICC headquarters.

“A young generation is taking over, the future of Congress is bright,” he said.

Dec 05, 2017 09:46 AM IST

Election schedule

While the notification for the elections was issued on Friday, nominations were to be filed till Monday, with the last date of withdrawal being December 11. Polling, if necessary, will be held on December 16, while counting of votes will be taken up on December 19. Though the formal results will be declared on December 11, the outcome will be known on the day of scrutiny of papers on December 5 itself if no other nomination is filed. Rahul will be handed over a certificate on December 11, the day a function has been planned at the Congress headquarters in Delhi.

Dec 05, 2017 09:46 AM IST

Rahul set to be named as Congress chief on Dec 11

The last date for withdrawal of candidature is December 11 and Gandhi is expected to be declared the new Congress chief on that day. The 47-year-old Gandhi will be the sixth Nehru-Gandhi scion to helm the party after his great great grandfather Motilal Nehru, great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi