Rahul Gandhi, who is likely to return from his mysterious sabbatical next month, is expected to take a call on when to assume the party’s mantle, notwithstanding the fact that the schedule for organisational elections including for the President’s post is out.
An indication to this effect was given by some party leaders who are insisting that the young leader has to decide the timing of the takeover and the earlier he does it, the better it will be.
The reasoning being given by them is that the question about leadership is not who but when.
Party sources said that Gandhi who has gone on a sabbatical over a month back is likely to return in April and then the issue of leadership is expected to gain momentum.
Leaders have all along maintained that Rahul will be back in the “proximate future” but has given no specific date.
Organisational elections are being held when the talk is growing in the party that sooner rather than later Sonia Gandhi will pass the mantle to her son Rahul Gandhi, who was made the Congress Vice President in January 2013 at the Jaipur Chintan Shivir.
Gandhi was made the party Vice President at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee in Jaipur in January 2013 which was ratified by the AICC meeting the next day.
The same process could be followed if it was decided to make him the party chief and the organisational elections would not come in the way, say some leaders.
There had been speculation that Rahul could be anointed any time as Congress President but his going on leave just on the eve of the commencement of the budget session last month had raised questions over his future plans.
Sonia Gandhi has created a record of having the longest tenure at the helm of the oldest political party when she completed 17 years as Congress President on March 14.
She took the top party post amid a complete collapse in 1998 replacing the late Sitaram Kesri at a time when the party had faced a crisis with the BJP in the ascendance.
The organisational polls are being held at a time when the Congress has faced its worst debacle in the Lok Sabha polls in May 2014 after being at the top for a decade since coming to power in 2004. It could manage just 44 seats in the last Lok Sabha elections.
A schedule for organisational elections under which the next Congress President will be elected by September 30 was released by the AICC yesterday.
A highlight of the new schedule is that for the first time, party polls will be held in two phases, first phase covering 18 states and Union territories and the second phase almost equal number of states and Union territories.