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Yes, Rahul is the future; we don't know when: Congress

Last updated on: November 9, 2011 10:44 IST

Yes, Rahul is the future; we don't know when: Congress

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi

Senior Congress leaders have put an end to speculation that Rahul Gandhi will soon be inducted as a working president or a full-fledged president of the Congress party saying there was no truth in it.

All India Congress Committee media chairman Janardan Dwivedi when asked about Rahul Gandhi's bigger role in the Congress said, "There is no suspense about it. He has a role and in the natural course his role will go on increasing. This is what Congressmen want and this in their view is natural."

He was responding to questions about speculation in media that Rahul may be appointed working president of the party on November 19, Indira Gandhi's birth anniversary.

With inputs from PTI

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When asked about the time line for his bigger role, Dwivedi said, "You just cannot speculate on the time since the Congress president is there to lead the party."

Asked to comment on reports that Rahul Gandhi would be given an important post like that of working president or president, he said, "As far as that speculation is concerned, treat it only as speculation. Sonia Gandhi is leading the Congress party and she will decide what steps are to be taken at what time."

He also dismissed reports about Priyanka becoming active in politics, saying, "It is Rahul who is in politics. And who has to take what responsibility at what time, has to be decided by the family."

He stressed that "Congress President Sonia Gandhi is here to lead the party and she will decide what to do and when", a statement which indicated that Sonia will continue to be at the helm.

Rahul has always been projected as future leader and potential prime minister by the party with a section hoping that he could be given the charge of the government ahead of the presidential elections next year.

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Sources in the AICC have dismissed reports that the Congress president may once again be travelling abroad for further treatment since she is said to be not keeping too well. Sources said there was no truth in this and that rumors were being spread by vested interests or those who do not know the facts.

There is no doubt that Congress is facing the dilemma. Senior leaders say it may be counter productive to make Rahul the president before the Uttar Pradesh elections. If the Congress does not perform well in the elections, the blame would be placed on Rahul and the gambit to give him a larger profile and stature will fail. The Congress feels that the media is far from fair with Rahul Gandhi and that stories may appear that the Congress was upstaged in Uttar Pradesh and could not perform, despite Rahul Gandhi's leadership.

Without taking on a bigger identity, Rahul has already begun the task of meeting and interacting with a number of state leaders as many of the leaders wanting an appointment with Sonia Gandhi are being redirected to meet Rahul Gandhi. He is said to be getting more feedback than his mother, who has confined herself to depending on a few powerful leaders.

Sources say that Rahul does not take any independent decisions regarding the party, but discusses and consults with his mother who is a great votary of caution and status quo. It is learnt that Rahul has a different approach and believes more in action, like his father Rajiv Gandhi. But so far the core team around Sonia Gandhi is not allowing Rahul a free hand in decision making, as many of those whose neck may be on the line are close to members of Sonia Gandhi's secretariat.

Asked about the possibility of Priyanka Gandhi joining politics, Dwivedi remarked, "They themselves decide who in the family has to do what and right now Rahul Gandhi is in politics."

Dwivedi's remarks came days after another party general secretary Digvijay Singh had said "Rahul has to come in the mainstream. Right now he is looking only after Youth Congress and the student wing of the party. I feel now he has to look after us all."

Singh, considered close to Rahul, is the AICC in-charge of poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, where the young leader is trying hard to revive the party in 2012 Assembly elections.

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Rahul was also part of the four-member committee appointed by Sonia to look after Congress affairs during her treatment in the US. The other three members included Defence Minister A K Antony, Congress President's political secretary Ahmed Patel and Janardan Dwivedi.

 

The committee is learnt to have held several meetings in Sonia's absence in which Rahul Gandhi had given decisive inputs on political controversies of the day.


The talk about Rahul playing a larger role has been coming out every time a fresh controversy has hit the UPA government in the last few months.

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