New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi on Friday attended the Congress Core Group meeting for the first time as the top brass held deliberations to take a concrete view on the vexed issue of Telangana statehood.
This is the first meeting of the Core Group that the Congress Vice President has attended triggering speculation that he has now been formally made its member, a step towards his projection as the party`s face for next Lok Sabha polls.
Gandhi also heads a special group set up by the party for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Though Congress has been maintaining that it does not project its Prime Ministerial candidate before elections, there are clear indications that Gandhi has taken the command of party`s future poll strategy.
He had been organising regular meetings of party leaders of states in AICC to prepare the state units for the polls. Even today, he held consultations with leaders of poll-bound Rajasthan at the AICC headquarters.
Sources in the party said that being the Vice President, it is natural for Gandhi to be in the Core Group but there was no official confirmation of this.
It is yet not clear whether Rahul Gandhi will be attending future meetings of the Core Group as well.
There was intense speculation about Gandhi being made a member of this key party think tank immediately after he was elevated as Congress Vice President in Jaipur in January this year.
The Congress core group is an interface between the party and the government and is chaired by Sonia Gandhi, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P Chidamabaram, Defence Minister AK Antony, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and the Congress President`s political secretary Ahmed Patel are its members.
The group usually meets every Friday at the Prime Minister`s official residence and formulates opinion on key issues confronting the government.