Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
New Delhi: In a bid to revive party`s fortunes after its debacle in Assembly polls conducted in four out of five major states, Congress is expected to declare Rahul Gandhi, who is currently serving as its vice president, its prime ministerial candidate ahead of 2014 General Elections.
According to reports, a formal announcement in this regard is likely to be made during the AICC meeting scheduled on January 17.
"Congress has convened an AICC meeting in Delhi on January 17 to prepare the strategy ahead with Lok Sabha polls being just a few months away," party general secretary Janadan Dwivedi told reporters.
The meet has been called at a time when Congress is facing an uphill task with the emergence of Narendra Modi and UPA appears to be shrinking.
The AICC meeting was due since the last meeting was held in Jaipur in January this year along with the `Chintan Shivir`, which saw the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as the party vice president.
After the defeat in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh Assembly polls, party chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had said there would be deep introspection into the reverses.
The Congress vice president too suggested that the party would undergo changes beyond imagination.
The announcement about the AICC meeting also comes a day after DMK chief M Karunanidhi, who had parted ways with Congress-led UPA just a few months back, declared that it would not align with Congress in the Lok Sabha polls.
He accused Congress of being "ungrateful". The announcement signalled an end to the decade-old relationship between the two parties.
Mamata Banerjee`s Trinamool Congress, which was the second largest constituent of UPA, left the alliance last year on FDI in retail issue. Besides DMK, Babulal Marandi`s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) and AIMIM are the two other parties that have left the ruling alliance at the Centre.
At a time when the talk is that the next Lok Sabha polls will be a Rahul Gandhi vs Narendra Modi affair, Sonia Gandhi had said that a decision on party`s PM candidate would be taken at an opportune time.
Though it is a debatable issue, the main opposition party has given full credit to its PM candidate Narendra Modi for its thumping victory in these elections.
There has been a long standing demand to declare Rahul Gandhi as Congress` PM candidate and the clamour grew louder after Sonia Gandhi said the party would take a decision in this regard at an opportune time.
A section of Congress leaders believe that naming Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate could revive party`s fortunes in the coming polls.
AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh had earlier said the party should ensure that Rahul is declared the PM candidate. Union Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was the chairman of the campaign committee in Madhya Pradesh polls, made the demand immediately after the Congress was routed in Assembly elections in four states on Sunday.
The call for Rahul to be named as the replacement for Manmohan Singh in UPA-3 contrasts with the earlier assessment that a bad performance in the December Assembly polls would discourage Congress from naming a rival to Narendra Modi, who is the BJP`s PM candidate.