Congress mulling reshuffle in UPA government, party?
New Delhi, July 16 (agencies): With an eye on crucial 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress central leadership is reportedly mulling large-scale restructuring in the party and the UPA government amid indications that Rahul Gandhi may be given a larger role in the days to come. Reports, Monday, claimed that senior Congress leaders including Digvijay Singh, Ambika Soni, Janardan Dwivedi and Ahmed Patel today met party president Sonia Gandhi at her residence to discuss the likely restructuring, both in the party and in the governance.
Indications in this regard have also come from Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, who was quoted as telling reporters, “Hopefully, Rahul Gandhi will take a more proactive role by September.” Singh has recently told a leading news daily that the Gandhi scion might move away from his current responsibility as in-charge of youth affairs to the mainstream Congress. Singh also indicated that Rahul Gandhi has probably given his nod to play a larger role in party affairs, which is expected to put an end to speculation over Congress leadership in the lead-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Congress sources have also confirmed that Rahul had given his consent for the much-anticipated organizational restructuring in the party and is open to playing a pivotal role in the days to come. As per sources, Rahul may still remain engaged with the organization, though there is still no clarity yet on what kind of responsibilities he would get in future. Some other sources claim that even if does not take up the top job in the Congress, he would still be the party’s top contender for the prime minister’s chair. Rahul Gandhi getting more responsibilities in Congress ranks would certainly end the anxiety about who could be leading them into the next elections.
Rahul has so far been reluctant in taking up the top job, which has further compounded the leadership row in Congress although there is little doubt in the party about who the heir-apparent is. While a third term for Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is highly unlikely and with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s firm no to joining the government, all eyes are now on Rahul Gandhi, who, most believe, can ensure victory for the party in the next general elections for the third time in a row. Moreover, Congress resolving the leadership crisis will give it an edge over BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which is also faced with a similar situation.
If Digvijay Singh is to be believed, then Rahul’s elevation in the Congress ranks might take place in September since election for Vice-President’s post and the Monsoon Session of the Parliament would be over by then. Singh, who is believed to be many as Rahul’s political mentor, claims that the young Congress leader has the complete backing of the party and an official announcement in this regard is eagerly awaited. Rahul’s elevation is set to shake up the Congress in style and substance, defying the popular perception that he would retreat into a shell after Congress’ debacle in UP assembly polls and further delay his projection in a bigger role.
The transition of sorts in Congress will come when the time has changed from favourable to challenging over the last three years since Rahul was hailed as a youth icon after the Lok Sabha triumph. All eyes will then be on how Rahul reconciles the central compulsions of Congress with its regional imperatives to revive the organization.
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