M A I N   N E W S

Rahul gets bigger role in Cong, named vice-president
Will now be No. 2 to Sonia
Role in LS polls to be decided later
K V Prasad
Tribune News Service

Formal approval today

Decision endorsed by extending meeting of the CWC
The committee passed the resolution moved by AK Antony
Appointment to be formally approved at AICC meet on Sunday
Rahul was party general secretary since 2007

Jaipur, January 19
Ending months of speculation, the Congress tonight elevated Rahul Gandhi as its vice-president, declaring him the official number two in the set-up led by his mother Sonia Gandhi.

The appointment of 43-year-old MP Rahul Gandhi, serving the party as its general secretary since 2007, was endorsed by the extending meeting of the Congress Working Committee which passed the resolution moved by AK Antony.

The announcement came on the eve of the All-India Congress Committee meeting here tomorrow, which will give its stamp of approval to Rahul’s elevation and the Jaipur Declaration, a document of distilled views expressed at the two-day ‘Chintan Shivir’ (brainstorming session). The party will also unveil an action plan outlining the path and trajectory of programmes and policies for the future.

Improptu celebrations broke across the city here and elsewhere, including Delhi, with procession being taken out by enthusiastic Congress workers who hailed the appointment through slogans and bursting of firecrackers amid drumbeats. The scene outside the Birla Auditorium, where the party leaders met, turned festive.

Janardan Dwivedi, party in charge of media, announced the decision stating that the Congress president gave her acceptance to the appointment. He said the role of young party vice-president in the coming Lok Sabha elections will be decided later.

Celebrate outside the AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Saturday.
Congress supporters
: Celebrate outside the AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Saturday. Tribune photo

“This decision will strengthen the party and the hands of Congress president…It has reposed faith in its most effective and accepted leader reflecting the aspirations of party workers,” Dwivedi said.

On his part, Rahul told the CWC that he would do his utmost to work for the party having learnt from the experience of the last eight years and express gratitude to members for the faith they reposed in him. The august assembly took turns to greet him with bouquets and garlands.

Late last year, Rahul Gandhi had indicated that he would assume greater role but left the final decision, be it in the government or the party to his bosses, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress president.

However, by not joining the Union Cabinet last November when Prime Minister carried out the last big reshuffle was a clear signal that Rahul saw for himself a role in the party. 

The immediate challenge before the young vice-president is to prepare for the ensuing elections in nine state Assemblies starting this March to December this year. These polls across four states in the Northeast and five in the Hindi heartland will be an excellent testing ground for Rahul Gandhi ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due next year.

This is not the first time when the party created a number two position. Jitendra Prasada was appointed the vice-president during the tenure of Sitaram Kesri while during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure as the party president Arjun Singh was given a similar responsibility. Earlier, Indira Gandhi made senior Brahmin leader from UP Kamlapati Tripathi as its working president.





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