Rahul Gandhi’s team will comprise a blend of youth and experience, a senior Congress leader said on Sunday dismissing as “unnecessary controversy” the projection that the young leader will give marching orders to seniors after becoming the party chief.
“As far as I could read the mind of our leaders, I can say with certainty that there is no such thing that Rahul Gandhi wants to remove all the seniors,” former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said.
He claimed that the new team would comprise the old and the new.
Gehlot, a two-time Rajasthan Chief Minister, is known to be close to Sonia Gandhi who has also worked closely with Rahul Gandhi as he was General Secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh some five years ago.
Gehlot’s refrain was that the projection by some that a tussle was on between the old guard and the generation next in the party was wrong.
“There is no such tussle”, he said claiming that an atmosphere was being made in the media.
The former AICC General Secretary, who had been incharge of the Youth Congress and the NSUI for sometime, said Rahul Gandhi had time and again made it clear during conferences of the youth bodies that he wanted to utilise the experience of seniors while inducting fresh blood in the organisation.
Gehlot said it has been a tradition in Congress since the days of Indira Gandhi to utilise the services of experienced people in the party while giving new responsibilities to youths.
He noted that the leaders who had been young during the times of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi have now become seniors and working in different capacities in the party from Congress Working Committee to AICC Secretariat and as PCC Chiefs.
Gehlot’s remarks are significant given the fact that though Congress vice-president’s elevation as party chief is expected to be a smooth affair, his critics were continuing with their efforts to delay the inevitable.
The talk in the party is that a take-over by Team Rahul will end up marginalising of the seniors, Sonia Gandhi’s advisers and other senior leaders believe that Rahul’s elevation should be put off till the year-end when election of party president is to be conducted.
Ideally, Congress’ old guard would like Sonia Gandhi to continue as president for another term but since this appears unlikely, they are advocating that Rahul Gandhi’s succession should be undertaken through the election route.
On the other hand, there is a section in Congress which wants Rahul Gandhi to take over the party reins at the earliest, preferably at the upcoming meeting of the All-India Congress Committee in April, to put an end to the lingering confusion over the leadership issue.
They would like him to take charge so that he has a free hand in bringing about necessary changes in the party organisation.
It is being speculated that Rahul Gandhi had taken time off out of sheer frustration because the old guard was not allowing him to revamp the party as per his plans.