The Congress is “very comfortable” with the twin leadership of the “mature” Sonia Gandhi and the “youthful” Rahul Gandhi, said Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha hours after the Congress Working Committee decided to put back its internal elections by a year.
Azad may have deftly fended off questions on the delay in elevation of Rahul as party chief, but there is considerable surprise in the party over the young Gandhi’s reluctance to take over the top job. “If not now, when? I don’t understand what is the hitch in his taking over,” a senior CWC member told The Indian Express minutes after the meeting.
None of the CWC members however, broached the topic during the three-hour meeting today. They later argued that the issue was not on the agenda .
The CWC decided to extend the deadline for internal elections for a year, thereby automatically giving Sonia Gandhi another year at the helm. The decision, which the party said was a technical necessity, was on expected lines, but it did reveal the Congress vice president’s reluctance to take over the mantle of the party at this stage.
It is all about the timing. Everyone in the Congress knows Rahul will take over. Some want it now, some later. Sources close to Rahul say he is putting together a team and would take over once that is done. They refuse to link his elevation with assembly elections, in Bihar now or next year in five states including Kerala and Assam.
Sources said his elevation is a matter of months. Most of the senior leaders feel he would take over using the election route. “The internal elections are put back not abandoned. When the elections will take place next year, I am certain Soniaji will not stand for the post of president. Rahul will. That will give his taking over legitimacy,” argued a senior Congress general secretary.