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Rahul likely to be made Cong vice-prez

B S Arun NEW DELHI, July 16, 2012, DHNS 1:14 IST
Amid clamour for Rahul Gandhi to take up “bigger responsibility” in the Congress leadership, stage is slowly being set to make him party vice president.

“The process is on. It is a matter of time that he will get higher responsibility in the party,” well-informed sources in the Congress told Deccan Herald on Monday. Rahul, now AICC general secretary looking after youth Congress and party’s students’ wing, may be upgraded as vice president in September — after the monsoon session of Parliament gets over.

“The general secretaries and other senior leaders are putting pressure on Congress president Sonia Gandhi that Rahul should be elevated and given more responsibility either as working president or vice president. It is nearly certain that he will be given the latter post. If he has a proper post, it helps us to report to him directly, apart from the party president,” sources added.

According to them, Sonia has no problem in elevating Rahul but she was waiting for a positive nod from the Amethi MP. Finally, the “yuvraj”, who was reluctant so far, has agreed, sources added.
Late Arjun Singh was the only vice president the Congress ever had. The former Union minister occupied that post during the Rajiv Gandhi era. He was given the responsibility to clean up bogus membership.

Singh, a close confidant of the former prime minister, was vice president of the party for over a year during 1986-87. However, this did not stop the then party working president Kamalapati Tripathi to have a go at Singh frequently as he questioned latter’s reforms drive. Also, tales were carried to Rajiv of Singh plotting against him. Soon, the experiment of having a vice president or working president fell through.

It is likely that 40-year-old Rahul would assume bigger role after the monsoon session of Parliament. This may coincide with the reshuffle of the AICC set up.

Hinting on Rahul’s elevation in the party, party general secretary Digvijay Singh said on Monday: “We are hopeful that he will take up a larger role by the end of this year.”

In reply to a question on whether it is the right time for Rahul to assume bigger responsibility after party’s poll debacle in Uttar Pradesh where he had led an aggressive election campaign and the Congress-led UPA government is facing charges of corruption and policy paralysis, Singh said: “Better leadership evolves, when conditions are adverse.”

He, however, refused to clarify on whether Rahul is also likely to join the government or will be the party’s prime ministerial candidate in 2014.

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