NEW DELHI: The de facto is yet to become de jure. But, on Monday, the Congress Working Committee after four hours of deliberation took a step towards nudging vice chief of the party, Rahul Gandhi, towards the party president’s post. In what appeared to be a neatly choreographed move, Manmohan Singh and A.K. Antony proposed—“it is high time’’—that a change-of-guard is brought about, sooner than later. Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s absence from the CWC meeting, on health ground, provided the perfect backdrop.
The reluctant prince, for once, showed no reluctance. He was later quoted by a senior party leader as having told the CWC members that he was ready to rise up to the challenge, “will take on any responsibility that the party gives’’ him. With bit of activism over the OROP suicide and a 3,800 km Kisen Yatra in poll-bound UP under his belt, he obvious had come a long way from the being the shy MP of Amethi. The same Antony had to persuade Rahul for days before he agreed to accept the Vice President post. Today, Antony indicated that the elevation could take place “sooner than later’’, “hopefully’’ before the crucial Assembly polls in 5 states. The Congress media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala hinted that Rahul may be ushered in before the year turns, December 31. Whether it would be achieved on November 19, when the party celebrates Indira Gandhi’s centenary, was not clear though.