Sonia Gandhi signals Rahul Gandhi could take over as Congress president soon

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New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday signalled that her son and deputy Rahul Gandhi will ‘soon’ replace her and take over to the post of the party.

Sonia Gandhi’s statement comes at a time when the organizational process to elevate Rahul Gandhi is in a full swing.

You (the media) have been asking me about Rahul (taking over Congress) for a long time. It will be done soon,” a news report by India Today quoted Sonia as speaking on the sidelines of former president Pranab Mukherjee’s book launch in the national capital.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) had nominated Rahul in November last year to the top post, subject to Sonia’s endorsement.

With the ongoing internal organizational polls, the Central Election Authority (CEA) of the party is set to ready a schedule for election of the party president which will need the assent of the CWC.

The transition in India’s grand old party is significant because it comes at a time when crucial state assembly elections are slated over the next one year, including Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat later this year, as well as Karnataka early next year.

Several state units of the party have passed resolutions for nominating Rahul Gandhi to the top post even as senior party leaders, including Rajasthan leader Sachin Pilot, have said that the elevation could happen as early as post Diwali, which is celebrated next week.

During the book release event on Friday, former prime minister Manmohan Singh also spoke and said that Mukherjee, former finance minister in Singh’s cabinet, was ‘better qualified’ for the top post.

“In 2004, when Soniaji chose me to become prime minister, Pranabji was one of the most distinguished colleagues that I had. He had every reason to feel a grievance that he was better qualified than I was to become the prime minister; but he also knew that I have no choice in the matter,” Singh told the gathering.

Remembering older days in government, Singh added that Mukherjee was the “most distinguished living parliamentarian and Congressman”, and that they ran the government as a cohesive team.