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'Congressmen are itching to welcome Rahul'
Sheela Bhatt in Hyderabad | January 21, 2006 19:48 IST
Last Updated: January 21, 2006 20:45 IST
The Congress plenary session, which has begun on a grand scale, is dominated by the Karnataka issue where Congress is on verge of losing power, and the charisma of Rahul Gandhi.
It is expected that around 10,000 Congressmen will attend the plenary session on Monday where they will hear Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speak.
On Sunday, All India Congress Committee members will debate political and economic resolutions and one on agriculture, employment and poverty alleviation and also, international affairs. All the drafts will be ready by Sunday evening and will be ready for adoption by the party.
According to sources, nothing controversial is included in these resolutions. Although Arjun Singh wanted to add a few lines on issues like Aligarh Muslim University reservation and Indo-US relations, the Congress has decided to play it safe.
Besides the Congress Working Committee, Sonia will speak four times in three days. On Monday, after the ceremonial procession escorting her from main gate to the dais at 10.40 am she will address the gathering. On the same day at 3 pm Dr Singh will address the Congressmen.
After the debate over various resolutions, Sonia will give her concluding remarks.
At many places in three days, senior leaders are expected to make themselves heard by asking the party to give responsibility to Rahul Gandhi.
Dr Singh and Sonia are expected to express mutual admiration and thank you notes.
Most delegates in Hyderbad are expressing confidence in the future of their party when Rahul will be leading them. They claim that in south India too, Rahul will attract a crowd.
A relative of former Congress minister P Shiv Shankar and an active Congress worker said at the venue, "Media is quite wrong when they claim that Priyanka is more glamorous and will succeed better than her brother Rahul. You give us five years and we will create a myth around Rahul Gandhi. Priyankadidi married a Christian. We expect Rahul will not make such mistakes. Today, the Bharatiya Janata Party can attack Priyanka not Rahul. Congressmen are itching to welcome Rahul."
Unusually high hopes are expressed because they think besides he belonging to Gandhi dynasty, Rahul is a young man with a clean record and he will attract crowds in villages.
The mega event in Hyderabad is expected to create a platform for the Rahul's entry in the near future. The Congressmen, who will return home to their respective states, will now carry the message that their future leader is Rahul.
Many Congressmen also mention that Sonia is now an international leader, so Rahul should handle the home turf soon and meet district level party leaders.
Sandeep Dikshit, member of Parliament from east Delhi and son of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit told rediff.com, "I believe Rahul should join the party. It's the right time. He will turn out to be a good leader because he has the ability to absorb. He makes you feel comfortable and when he disagrees, he explains his views patiently."
According to recent reports, Rahul has consulted many non governmental organisations to find out about self-help groups.
These days Rahul is quite fascinated by success stories of self-help groups run by village women all over India. Andhra Pradesh is leading the country with 2,87,000 self-help groups helping 44,00,000 women.
"Rahul has studied the functioning of SHGs. He is also thinking about new ways to change the scene of agriculture in India with help of globalisation. He is keen to help small farmers," Dikshit said.
Sonia has been authorised by the party to nominate all the members of CWC recently. She has reconstituted the CWC keeping five seats vacant.
It is speculated that Rahul will be one to be nominated.
Its believed that Congress wants Rahul's official innings to begin with a thunder.
With one crisis after another confronting Congress, the party took its own time because it will not like to ruin Rahul's launch in any manner.
The pros and cons are under the scanner. Particularly, in the coming state elections Congress is not likely to fare better in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
10 Janpath's managers would like the Congress to take the blame instead of crediting to the record of a new batsman.
However, the final decision for Rahul's moment will be taken after the heat and dust of plenary session is settled.
"Although I believe he should join the CWC and party position, my reading of him is that Rahul doesn't think he is ready," said Dikshit candidly.