Rahul for PM, LS Polls may Dominate AICC Discussion - The New Indian Express

Rahul for PM, LS Polls may Dominate AICC Discussion

Published: 16th January 2014 08:14 AM

Last Updated: 16th January 2014 09:59 AM

In the run-up to the AICC session scheduled to be held here from Friday, the meeting of the Congress core group, which was convened on Wednesday, had Rahul Gandhi as one of its participants.

It is his likely elevation as the ‘natural leader’ of the party and by default its prime ministerial choice that has created the buzz among the party’s rank and file.  But the fact  that the Congress top brass was holding a last minute strategy meeting on the eve of the CWC,  that is expected to endorse the agenda of the AICC session, underscored the need to tie up some loose ends.

A senior Congress leader, however, insisted that it was not the agenda of the AICC meeting, but the anti-corruption Bills that were discussed by the core group.

Rahul is quite “keen on the government pushing the Bills in the upcoming session of Parliament”. Indications are that the Congress scion has not “officially revealed his mind” to the party yet, despite his “I’m ready to take any responsibility the party gives me in the future” interview

Prompted by a group of party strategists advising caution, the Congress top brass seems to have weighed the option of whether to declare Rahul as the party’s PM candidate or leave it a little unstated, by making him the chairman of the party’s campaign committee. 

The latter nomenclature, sources indicate, would make it evident that Rahul is the party’s choice for the top job without compromising on the Congress stand that in a Parliamentary democracy the Prime Minister is chosen by the elected members of the Legislature (or nominated by the Congress president). This, however, can only provide a fig leaf to Rahul in case of a total washout for the Congress in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. 

After days of hype, there is little doubt that the AICC session can be concluded without some sort of an announcement, which can lift the current gloom in the party that is reeling under an attack from two flanks-- Narendra Modi and  Arvind Kejriwal. Also burdened with the dismal performance in the recent Assembly polls, spiralling inflation and the anti-incumbency factor brought on by the decade-long UPA rule, the AICC members and workers are unlikely to go home without a face-saver in hand. 

In response to the build-up, a young MP from Maharashtra said, “In this day and age of social media, we cannot go to the polls without a face. A positive massage with a younger leader will give us a talking point when we go out to seek votes.” 

This being the background, it is also being speculated that Rahul may be named working president of the Congress, with Sonia deciding to play second fiddle.   

Interestingly, senior Congress leader and Union Defence Minister A K Antony, who held talks with a party general secretary late on Tuesday evening, also discussed the “Agenda 2014” and not the alliances. However, sources said that the manifesto for 2014 indeed figured at the talks.

The CWC meeting will be crucial in many respects as it is likely to come up with the party’s roadmap for the future.

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