NEW DELHI/RAE BARELI, June 1 - Speculation today raged about Rahul Gandhi taking over as Congress president soon, but the party dismissed any such immediate possibility even as Sonia Gandhi remained tight-lipped on the issue.
Sonia, who is on a visit to her constituency Rae Bareli, was asked to comment on media reports about Congressmen wanting Rahul to take over as president. She just got into her car without replying to the media.
�We are a national party. There are certain procedures ... When it comes to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi we all wholeheartedly accept (their leadership). We all want Rahul to take over (as president) ... as and when (it will happen), we will make a proper statement,� party spokesperson Sushmita Dev told reporters
Replying to a volley of questions on the speculation over Rahul�s imminent elevation and also on the possibility of Priyanka Gandhi becoming active in Uttar Pradesh where Assembly polls are scheduled next year, Dev said, �Speculation is the privilege of the media.�
In Chandigarh, Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh said time is right for Rahul Gandhi to take over from his mother as Congress president and favoured Priyanka�s entry into active politics. �Sonia Gandhi is a brilliant leader. I have said that she has been working (as Congress president) for the last 20 years. If she feels that time has come to give it to a new generation, then she should pass it on and we will fully support Rahul (to take over),� he told a press conference.
A section in the party feels that Sonia should continue as party chief, while another feels that the earlier Rahul takes over the reins the better.
Leaders like Jairam Ramesh have said earlier that Rahul will be party president in 2016.
Talk is that a meeting of the Congress Working Committee will be held this month to discuss threadbare the situation caused by the party�s debacle in Assembly elections in four States.
Holding of a �chintan shivir� to brainstorm over the losses, among other things, is also being talked about. Rahul was made party vice president in January 2013 at the Jaipur Chintan Shivir. Sonia Gandhi has been at the helm of the party since March 1998 and has created a record of sorts. � PTI