Sonia?s record win is Rahul?s launch pad
FLUSH WITH her impressive victory in Rae Bareli, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday talked of the possibility of finding a role for son Rahul in the party organisation.india Updated: May 12, 2006 15:12 IST
FLUSH WITH her impressive victory in Rae Bareli, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday talked of the possibility of finding a role for son Rahul in the party organisation.
It was the first time she had responded directly to the demand of party MPs, leaders and workers for entrusting the Amethi MP with organisational responsibilities. "It might happen," she said to a question from newspersons, in a shift from her earlier refrain that it was for the party to decide such issues.
Clearly, Rahul's grooming period is over. He had personally spearheaded Sonia's election campaign in Rae Bareli, his hard work reflected in her four lakh-plus victory margin.
Party leaders are confident that Rahul's formal induction in the organisation as AICC general secretary -- and thereby also as Congress Working Committee (CWC) member -- will galvanise cadres and check the factionalism that has sapped the organisation in almost every state.
On Thursday, a group of six first-term Lok Sabha MPs, including Milind Deora and Sachin Pilot, seized the Rae Bareli victory to call on Sonia and make a strong pitch for Rahul's inclusion as AICC general secretary with a national profile. Senior leader Ashok Gehlot said Rahul should be in the AICC and CWC and not confined just to UP.
The demand for an organisational slot for Rahul was strongly articulated at the Hyderabad plenary earlier this year, with his "the national flag is my religion" speech enthusing the gathering. At the same time, he said he had a lot to learn and would prefer to work among the people.
The acid test came when he set himself the task of improving on Sonia's victory margin in Rae Bareli. He passed with flying colours. And got praise from all quarters -- from party workers to sister Priyanka Vadra who gave him "11 out of 10 marks" for his work.
The six MPs who met Sonia to congratulate her on her victory said Rahul had proved his organisational acumen by leading her campaign in a hostile environment. "It's time he moved around the country to mobilise party cadres," said Deora.
But if Sonia seemed to agree to their request, she did not take kindly to Lok Sabha MP Ajit Jogi's move to launch a signature campaign urging her to become prime minister and install Rahul as party chief.
"This is wrong. There shouldn't be such talk in the party," Sonia told reporters.
Sonia did not spell out whether she would head the National Advisory Council again -- an issue that has been on the minds of Congressmen. "I don't know. I can't say," she said.
Won Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat by a margin of over 4.17 lakh votes. All rival candidates forfeited their security deposits. Last time, Sonia had won by 2.49 lakh votes