Congress reshuffle likely, buzz again on Rahul’s elevation

New Delhi, Jan 2 (IANS) The Congress is likely to effect an organisational reshuffle after party vice president Rahul Gandhi returns from Europe, amid renewed buzz over his elevation to the top post, party sources said on Saturday.

Sources said Gandhi had already done the groundwork for the reshuffle and it would be put into effect at an opportune time decided by him and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi is said to be of the view that the party should encourage youth leadership while benefiting from the experience of senior leaders at the same time.

The sources said the date for an All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting will also be finalised after Rahul Gandhi’s return.

A Congress leader said Rahul Gandhi was willing to take over as party chief but did not comment on the timing.

Sources said Rahul Gandhi could be elevated as Congress chief close to the AICC session or after the culmination of the organisational elections’ process.

Rahul Gandhi on December 28 tweeted that he would travel to Europe for a few days. Sources said he was expected to return after January 8.

He was elevated as Congress vice president in January 2013. Demands and suggestions by some senior leaders were made last year for Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as the Congress president.

There was also a contrary view that status quo should prevail and Sonia Gandhi should continue to lead the party.

In September 2015, the party decided to extend Sonia Gandhi’s term as party leader by a year and wrote to the Election Commission that it will complete organisational election process before the end of 2016.

The Congress suffered reverses in assembly polls in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand in 2014 after its debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

However, the Bihar assembly elections in 2015 brought it some cheer. Contesting along with its allies Janata Dal-United and Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress returned a tally of 27 seats.

Party sources said there was more confidence in the Congress about its electoral prospects in 2016.

Congress-ruled Assam and Kerala, besides West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, will see assembly elections in the first half of 2016. Sources, however, said there was no connection between these polls and Rahul Gandhi’s elevation.

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