The Congress leadership is learnt to be veering around to the idea of appointing Rahul Gandhi AICC general secretary in charge of Organisation,even as a group of MPs has urged party chief Sonia Gandhi to make him Leader of the House in Lok Sabha,a post vacated by Pranab Mukherjee.
Congress sources said Rahul as general secretary in charge of Organisation will have the authority to intervene in party affairs in any state. Given that the partys circulars,guidelines and even appointments are all issued under the signature of general secretary in charge of Organisation,Rahul will have the whole sway of authority in terms of his direct role in the decision-making process.
The party leadership was earlier weighing other options of appointing him as working president or vice-president of the party but these options did not find much favour given the fact that in the past these posts were created when party presidents were not active.
While Indira Gandhi had appointed Kamlapati Tripathi as working president,sources pointed out that it was necessitated because she was the Prime Minister and could not devote enough time to party affairs. For the same reason,Rajiv Gandhi had appointed Arjun Singh as party vice-president. Sitaram Kesri appointed Jitendra Prasada,but that was to wean him away from Sharad Pawar faction in the party then,said sources.
When Soniaji is back in the pink of health and devoting full time to party affairs,it doesnt make any sense to appoint a working president or vice-president. Besides,in his capacity as general secretary (Organisation),Rahul would get the required grooming before eventually moving up to the top post, a senior Congress leader told The Indian Express. A section of the party is also uneasy about the idea of mother and son as president and vice-president,which,they feel,will send out a wrong message.
While leaders like Digvijaya Singh wants Rahul to confine himself to party affairs for now,the majority of Congress leaders want him to join Manmohan Singh Cabinet to understand the system so as to be groomed for the top job in the government in future. As a Cabinet Minister,you gradually get to understand the pulls and pressures from within and outside the government in the decision making process. There is bureaucracy and there are different interest groups and lobbies. You need some grooming to handle these complexities before you become Prime Minister, said a Union Minister and senior Congress leader,adding that it is for Rahul to consider the pros and cons of working for both the organisation and the government.
The reshuffle in the Union Cabinet and the AICC is expected after the monsoon session of Parliament in September.
Meanwhile,on Wednesday,10 Congress MPs sent a joint letter to Sonia Gandhi requesting her to appoint Rahul as Leader of the Lok Sabha as it is the need of the hour to create a sense of confidence among countrymen. We think it is the need of the hour that Rahul should play a larger and proactive role in Parliament as the party is facing many challenges inside and outside Parliament, the letter stated.
One of the signatories,MP Bhakta Charan Das,told The Indian Express that Rahuls appointment as Leader of the House will send a very good message to the youth and also to tribals and farmers for whom he has been working tirelessly.