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I expect Rahul to become Cong president this year: Jairam Ramesh

Last updated on: May 20, 2015 15:47 IST

Rahul Gandhi is expected to become the party president this year and intends to build the outfit similar to the one that existed during Nehru's time by promoting regional faces, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said on Wednesday.

"..I expect that it would be in 2015. We are expecting that he will take over (as Congress president), and we are expecting that he would take over in 2015," the former Union minister told PTI in an interview.

Gandhi is committed to creating a new cadre of leadership in states, he said.

"He (the Congress vice-president) recognises that we need state-level leadership. We need to create the Congress party that existed during the times of Jawaharlal Nehru, where we had a Kamaraj, Pratap Singh Kairon, Y B Chavan, B C Roy, G B Pant among others," Ramesh said.

"We need regional-level leadership because we are not only fighting national elections, we are also fighting state elections.

"He (Rahul) does not believe in the culture of nominations; he believes in people emerging as leaders; he does not believe in para-trooping," he said. Ramesh dismissed complaints from some quarters that the Congress old guard feels insecure about their future with Rahul taking over from Sonia Gandhi and downplayed the discordant notes on his leadership qualities.

"There is no old guard. There is no young guard. There is only one guard. There is only Congress guard", Ramesh said. "Every organisation must undergo a process of renewal every 20 years...every 25 years and the Congress must project younger faces from a broader spectrum of society...give them positions of prominence, give them positions of authority," he emphasised.

Ramesh wished more youngsters had been part of United Progressive Alliance-1 and UPA-2 governments. He also said the older generation in the party has experience, political wisdom and youngsters have enthusiasm and energy.

"I think you need both. Rahul himself will be 45. So, he is in an ideal position. Forty-five is like a sandwich. You are neither younger generation nor older. So, I think Rahul is ideally placed for bringing about convergence of experiences of the older with the energy of younger generation," he said.

Referring to the recent break taken by Rahul, the leader said the Congress vice-president is now a ‘transformed figure’.

"He is aggressive; he has taken active role in Parliament. He has led padayatras in different states on farmers' issues. I think we are seeing a new Mr Rahul Gandhi, Mr Rahul Gandhi who is active, who is proactive and who is reactive.

"I am sure he will sustain this and it shows the fact that the period of introspection which he undertook enabled him to fully understand not only what is expected of him but also the challenges that he faced. So, to that extent, I think the break that he took worked wonders for him," Ramesh added.

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