Rahul Gandhi elevated UPDATES | New president promises to make Congress grand old and young party

The 47-year-old Rahul Gandhi formally takes over the reins of the grand old party two days before the counting of votes for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections.

Published: 16th December 2017 12:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th December 2017 02:20 PM   |  A+A-

Rahul Gandhi is the new president of the Congress party. (Twitter | INCIndia)

By Online Desk

NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi today formally took charge as chief of the Congress party today, from his mother Sonia Gandhi who had helmed the country's oldest party for 19 years, in a ceremony held at the party's 24 Akbar Road headquarters here. He is the fifth Congress president from the Nehru-Gandhi family and the 16th president of the party, that has ruled the country for much of its independent history. READ | 

The ceremony was attended by party stalwarts, his mother and outgoing Congress President Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan and other party leaders.

Read below:

Rahul Gandhi: The rise of a political scion

As Sonia Gandhi passes the baton to Rahul, here is a look back at the longest-serving Congress president

His sister Priyanka Gandhi and brother-in-law Robert Vadra were also present on the occasion. 

He was given the certificate of Congress president by Mullappally Ramachandran, the chairman of the party’s central election authority, who oversaw the organisational polls.

WATCH | Life of Rahul Gandhi: From a reluctant politician to Congress' future

His mother Sonia Gandhi on Friday announced that it was time for her to retire, triggering immediate speculation about her future plans. The Congress party sought to quell it saying she has only retired from the party chief's role and not from politics. [ALSO READ: What are the challenges before Rahul?]

Here are all the latest UPDATES:

12: 20 pm - Wishes keep pouring in from senior politicians from across the country. Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda, Karnataka Congress leader KJ George and more.

12: 15 pm - Rahul, wearing a long flowing white kurta, smiled and waved from the dais adorned with posters of his late grandmother and father, former prime ministers Indira and Rajiv Gandhi. Slogans of "long live Rahul" were shouted as hundreds of supporters danced to drum beats and burst firecrackers.

12: 05 pm-  

12:00 pm - 

11:58 am - 

11:50 am - 

11:45 am - 'Vo todhte hai, hum jodte hai (they break, we join)", says Rahul Gandhi in his first speech as Congress chief, referring to the BJP.

11: 43 am - 

11:42 am - Congratulating Rahul Gandhi on his elevation, she said personal attacks on her son have made him fearless and voiced confidence that the young leadership will infuse new vigour in the party. "I am sure he will lead the party with courage and dedication," 71-year-old Sonia Gandhi said.

11:40 am - "Congress should introspect and move forward and stand by its values.... It is a moral battle, we have to set our house in order and be ready for the fight and to make any sacrifice," she said.

11:35 am - "In 1984, Indiraji was assassinated and I felt I had lost my mother and that incident changed my life forever", says Sonia Gandhi. She also talked about the time when was reluctant to join politics following the assassination of her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi and husband Rajiv Gandhi.

11: 30 am - Sonia Gandhi resumes her speech.

11: 20 am - Sonia Gandhi's speech is interrupted by the sound of crackers and celebrations of party workers. She pauses her speech.

11: 17 am - 

11:15 am -  Former PM Manmohan Singh delivers a speech. He says, "I'm sure the party will scale new heights of glory."

11: 10 am - 

11 am - Rahul Gandhi is the new President of the grand old party. The Central Election Authority Mullapally Ramachandran handed over the Certificate of Election to him. [READ HERE | A look back at Rahul's journey)

10: 45 am  - 

10: 30 am - 

10 am - 

9: 30 am - 

9 am - 

The 47-year-old Rahul Gandhi formally takes over the reins of the grand old party two days before the counting of votes for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections, the outcome of which could be a trendsetter ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

READ HERE | With Rahul's elevation, Sonia to be adviser, Priyanka to be strategist

Gandhi had been the party Vice President for over four years since 2013.

Rahul's main challenge remains the revamping of party organisation, apart from electoral battles in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
 

(With inputs from ANI, IANS and AFP)

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