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No 'son-rise' in Congress yet

Rahul Gandhi's induction into the party leadership may not happen soon.

india Updated: Jul 10, 2006 20:08 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is set to undertake the long-awaited revamp of the party leadership.

But the eagerly talked about induction of Rahul Gandhi may not take place soon, party sources said.

Some of her present colleagues in the leadership are to become state governors.

Congress sources said Sonia Gandhi, in consultation with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had cleared the names of party leaders Margaret Alva, ML Fotedar and former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Mukul Mithi for the gubernatorial posts.

Alva is a party general secretary while Fotedar is a long-time member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

Both are known in the party as diehard Gandhi loyalists.

This would give space for others to come into the decision-making echelons of the party.

But Rahul Gandhi, elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 2004, will not be one of them.

According to the sources, Rahul Gandhi is not likely to be taking on a high-profile responsibility for now.

"Rahul seems to have told his mother that he was not ready yet to take charge of a top party post and that he needed more time to learn things at the ground level," one informed source said.

Some Congress leaders have been urging Rahul Gandhi, who represents Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, to take on "more serious responsibilities" in the Congress to revive and refresh the country's oldest political party, now facing serious challenges in many parts of the country.

Many also think that Rahul Gandhi's induction could attract the young to the Congress.

"Congress leaders feel that Rahul's presence in the top level would galvanise the party to face the coming assembly elections including in Uttar Pradesh," the source added.

"But Rahul said he needed more time and Soniaji is not likely to force him," the source said.

Sonia Gandhi had indicated earlier that she would not mind him appointing Rahul at a senior post.

That was after Rahul campaigned for Sonia Gandhi in the May by-election, giving her mother a handsome victory.

Party sources indicated that former Karnataka chief minister M Veerappa Moily could be dropped from the party leadership.

"The leadership has not been so happy with his record in the states he is in charge of. Besides, he has other responsibilities too," the source said.

Moily is the CWC member in charge of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep. He is the chairman of the Oversight Committee that looks into the reservation of seats for backward communities in higher educational institutions, apart from heading the second Administrative Reforms Commission.

Margaret Alva is reportedly not happy to be made a governor, but both Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi are keen that senior party leaders need to take charge of Raj Bhavans.

Raj Bhavans in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Tripura and Andaman and Nicobar Islands are awaiting fresh nominees.

The sources said there would also be changes in Haryana, Delhi and Orissa.

The names of Home Secretary VK Duggal, who is retiring soon, and Congress leader Prabha Rao are also doing the rounds as possible governors.

However, former Kerala Assembly Speaker Vakkom Purushothaman, who has been keen on a second term as lieutenant governor in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, is said to be missing from the list of governors, tipped to be announced this week.