Rahul close to becoming Cong president

Rahul Gandhi moved a step closer to being elevated as Congress chief on Monday with the party's top decision-making body announcing the schedule of the presidential election, which is going to be held after seven years.
After repeated prodding by the Election Commission on holding internal polls, the Congress Working Committee approved an election schedule that may lead to 47-year-old Rahul being declared as Congress president as early as December 5, if no other leader enters the contest.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi would relinquish the post in favour of Rahul after 19 years at the helm during which she steered the party to two consecutive Lok Sabha victories.
According to the schedule approved by the CWC, presidential elections will be notified on December 1.
"The last date of filing nominations is December 4, while scrutiny of nominations will take place on December 5," Mullapally Ramachandran, chairman of the Central Election Authority, told reporters after the CWC meeting.
He said the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is December 11. "If there is more than one nomination, polls will be held on December 16 and counting will take place on December 19," Ramachandran said.
Several Congress leaders DH spoke to said that the presidential election was expected to be unopposed and held much before the first phase of Gujarat elections on December 9.
If Rahul's is the only nomination received by the poll authority, it will be announced on December 5.
However, a formal announcement of Rahul being elected as Congress president would be made only on December 11, which is the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers.
It was not immediately clear on the role Sonia will play in the Congress after Rahul's elevation.
"We cannot conceive that her guidance, her able leadership will not be available. Her able leadership and guidance will always be available, not only to Rahul Gandhi but also to crores and crores of Congress-men and women always," Randeep Singh Surjewala, in-charge of the Congress' communication department told reporters.
The appointment of the new Congress president is expected to take place in the middle of the Gujarat Assembly elections where Rahul has emerged as a key campaigner against the BJP in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state.
The timing of Rahul's elevation as Congress president would see the party's campaign reach its crescendo in Gujarat where it aims to topple the BJP after 22 years.
DH News Service

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