After months of clamour by Congressmen to give him a larger responsibility in the party, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi was Saturday appointed vice-president, formally giving him the number two position.
The decision was taken at the Congress Working Committee meeting at the end of the paríyís two-day chintan shivir here. Defence Minister A K Antony moved the resolution proposing Rahulís elevation and the entire CWC endorsed it. The late leaders Arjun Singh and Jitendra Prasada are the others who have held this position.
The decision came as the ruling party concluded its deliberations at the brainstorming session, which witnessed a chorus by party leaders for a larger role for Rahul in the organization.
Janardhan Dwivedi, the partyís chief spokesperson who made the announcement, told reporters that Rahulís exact role in the next elections and whether he would lead the poll campaign will be decided later.
Rahul was appointed Congress general secretary in charge of the Indian Youth Congress and NSUI in September 2007 and his elevation to the number two position has been anticipated for some time now.
With his appointment as vice-president, Rahul is expected to virtually take over the reins of the Congress with his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi expected to play the role of a patron and supreme leader as a Congress spokesperson had put it recently.
After Sonia underwent a surgery abroad in 2011 for an undisclosed illness, there had been pressure on the young general secretary to take up a larger responsibility in the party.
Before formally naming him the number two in the party, Sonia had recently appointed him as head of the pírtyís election coordination committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
In preparation for his elevation to the post, the party had invited about 120 elected Youth Congress and NSUI leaders, about one-third of the total delegates, to the chintan shivir in Jaipur.
The announcement of Rahulís appointment came amid the bursting of firecrackers and beating of drums by Youth Congress and NSUI workers outside the venue of the conclave.