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Rahul Gandhi to give first speech as Congress vice president today

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is likely to make his first speech reportedly on Sunday, a day after he was elevate to the number two position in the party at the ‘Chintan Shivir’.

Zeenews Bureau

Jaipur: A day after he was elevated to the number two position in the party at the ‘Chintan Shivir’, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is slated to make his first speech on Sunday.

The newly-appointed Congress VP will deliver his first speech and address the party workers at the ongoing ‘Chintan Shivir’ here around 3 pm today. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are also scheduled to speak at the brainstorming conclave of the party.

Meanwhile, Priyanka Gandhi today reached Jaipur to congratulate Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, on the sidelines of the party’s two-day ‘Chintan Shivir’, passed a resolution unanimously elevating Rahul Gandhi – till now the party general secretary – as the official number two in the party on Saturday.

Soon after being appointed as the vice-president, Gandhi thanked party leaders and said that he was confident that they could “transform” the Congress party.

Expressing his gratitude and thanking the party, Rahul told CWC in his acceptance speech, "I have great experience...In the last eight years that I have worked with the party I have seen it is a great organisation and together we will transform the country. It is a great party."

Party chief spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi said as to what will be Rahul`s role in the next election or whether he will lead the election campaign will be decided later.

The resolution was moved by senior party leader and Defence Minister AK Antony.

Minister of State for Home RPN Singh termed the move a "game changer" and said Rahul Gandhi is the party`s face for 2014.

Highways Minister CP Joshi hailed the move as representing "new leadership for the new India", while Youth Congress chief Rajeev Satav said it was a "historic day and would bring joy to the young friends of the party".

"This will be remembered as the real Jaipur Declaration much over the formal document to be adopted by the All India Congress Committee on Jan 20," quipped another minister.

Party insiders said this would mean more younger leaders will get important roles in the organisational reshuffle, which is likely to follow soon marking the generational shift.

In the last cabinet reshuffle Oct 28, 2012, Rahul`s influence was clear when he suggested for promotion many younger leaders, including Prasada, Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot and Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari.

A pointer to Rahul`s elevation as official number two came when party leaders and ministers competed with each other in demanding a bigger role for him at the introspection meet.

The largest ever presence of over 130 Youth Congress and NSUI members out of the 350 delegates at the strategy session was also at his behest.

The decision approved by the CWC, the party`s highest decision making body, makes him officially the number two in the party after his mother and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.