The moment of truth has arrived for Rahul Gandhi as he is likely to become the Congress President in December. The announcement is likely to come ahead of the results of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly election which will take place on December 18. The CWC, the party’s highest decision making body, met yesterday in New Delhi. It approved the schedule for the much-awaited election to the top party post. The coveted post in the coutry’s politics has been occupied by incumbent President Sonia Gandhi for a record 19 years since 1998. In 1998 when she had replaced veteran Congress leader Sitaram Kesri. It has been learnt that the crucial election process will kick off on December 1 with the commencement of filing of nominations. The last date for nominations is December 4, until 3 pm. Following scrutiny of nominations on December 5, the list of valid candidatures will be put out on the same day at 3:30 pm.
If there is no other candidate in the fray — the party expects no such challenge — Rahul’s election is likely to be announced either on December 5, after the scrutiny of papers, or on December 11, the last date for withdrawal of nominations. So by December 5, picture will be cleared. However, if there is more than one candidate in the fray, voting will take place on December 16 and counting on December 19.
Rahul Gandhi’s first reaction after CWC meeting
Rahul Gandhi yesterday spoke on the Rafale fighter aircraft deal and stressed on the need to fight the BJP more aggressively. The Congress vice president said every party worker should ‘aim for the bull’s eye’ in Gujarat.
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So what will this change mean for Congress
“Firstly, it will bring clarity about who will lead the Congress into the 2019 elections. Secondly, there will be a shake-up in the top echelons that will combine continuity with change. Thirdly, there will be fresh focus on issues that will be raised between now and 2019. Issues of a basic nature, covering political, economic, social and international affairs, with special emphasis on grassroot democracy and grassroot development,” Congress veteran Mani Shankar Aiyar told The Indian Express. He said it would also provide an impetus to democratisation of the party.
BJP rakes up dynasty charge
The BJP, on the other hand, yesterday took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi’s imminent elevation as Congress chief, saying the top post of that party is reserved only for one family while even booth-level workers have become BJP presidents. “Can an ordinary booth level worker aspire to be the national president of the Congress? Or is the post reserved only for the family? Is it possible even for a state level leader to even aspire to be considered for the post,” senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
The Union minister cited the examples of BJP chief Amit Shah and his predecessors Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh, saying they were all ordinary booth-level workers in the party before they went on to head the party. Whoever is elected as Congress president is its own affair but the presidency is coming like an entitlement to Rahul Gandhi not necessarily because of merit but because of family connection, Prasad said.