Congress chorus builds up for Rahul's elevation
New Rahul Gandhi's elevation as the party chief are growing and the issue may figure in a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting expected later this month, party sources said.
They said a reshuffle of the All India Congress Committee is also being contemplated and younger party leaders are likely to be promoted to positions of responsibilty.
"A meeting of the party's Working Committee is likely to take place later this month after the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha are over," a party leader said here.
The CWC is also expected to discuss the party's showing in the assembly polls in Assam, Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
Party leaders have called for a "major surgery" and "cardiac surgery" since after the round of four assembly polls saw the Congress reduced to being in power in only six states, most of them small ones.
There is a feeling among leaders that Rahul Gandhi should take up the responsibility of the party as its chief and bring a new team with fresh ideas to prepare ground for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
"It is good that change comes about because we have to be ready for 2019. He (Rahul) is the best choice," a party leader said.
There is also a feeling in the party that the elevation should not be delayed for long as the party has to plunge into preparations for assembly polls in five states early next year, including crucial states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Punjab Congress chief Capt. Amarinder Singh in an interview this week said that time has come for the new generation to emerge in the party.
Amarinder said that Sonia Gandhi might be feeling tired. "It will be only fair if she wishes to hand over (the reins of the party)," he said.
There has been recurrent speculation of Rahul Gandhi taking over reins of the party from his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who has led it for nearly 18 years.
But the change has not come about so far due to perceived reluctance of Rahul Gandhi to assume high party office.
There also have been suggestions that Rahul Gandhi's sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra should play a more active role in politics.
Rahul Gandhi was appointed party vice president in 2013. Several party leaders, including Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath, have said in the past that he should be elevated and given full charge of the party.
Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev told reporters here on Wednesday that the party would like Rahul Gandhi to take up the leadership mantle.
"There is lot of speculation going on and I think Sonia Gandhi ji and Rahul Gandhi ji have led the party through its many phases. There is, of course, a demand from various quarters of workers and all of us would like Rahul Gandhi ji to take the lead. As and when there is any news, we will be happy to address the issue," she said.
She said that the party wholeheartedly accepts leadership of both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
"So, as and when that decision happens, we will make a proper statement," she said.