Will Rahul Gandhi helm India's Congress party from November?

NEW DELHI (ANN Desk) - Rahul Gandhi, the scion of India's Gandhi dynasty, has been the Congress Party's vice-president for close to five years and will take over the mantle from his mother Sonia Gandhi. 

Before the month of October draws to a close, India's Congress Party is likely to elevate Rahul Gandhi, the 47-year-old scion of the Gandhi dynasty, as its President. 

Rahul has been holding his current position of the party's vice-president for close to five years and will take over the mantle from his mother Sonia Gandhi. Sonia has been the party president since 1998 – the longest period for a president in the party's 132-year-old history. 

In event of Rahul's elevation she will continue to be member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's top decision-making body. Rahul had told the CWC that he was ready to take on the top job last year.  

The Congress Central Election Authority has convened an emergency meeting of its state returning officers in New Delhi on October 3, where October 10 will be fixed as the deadline for completing election of all Pradesh Congress Committe and All-India Congress Committe members, who constitute the electoral college for electing the new party president. 

Following Rahul's elevation, a few new faces are likely to be seen at the CWC and a few familiar older faces may have to retire – to ease the inter-generational tension.   

While all reports in the media of Rahul's impending promotion have been attributed to sources, the nearest confirmation came from former Union minister and party veteran Salman Khurshid.

Khurshid said the move will give an “adrenaline shot” and “inject” fresh energy into the party.

“It is also in many ways important organisationally because it gives a special…it gives an adrenaline shot to the party, and then every time there is a change of guard, as it were, in any organisation in any country, it brings fresh hope,” he told PTI in an interview.

Khurshid said the general feeling in the party is that the transition should happen.

“People will be short-sighted if they think that this is going to be a routine transition because we have a huge psychological and political stature of present Congress president Sonia Gandhi and that’s not going to get switched off simply by a transition,” he said.

However, Khurshid said there was “a lot of uncertainty” about when Rahul would assume the reins of the party.

Rahul who is currently touring the US, said at an event there that he was “absolutely ready” to take up an executive responsibility if the party asked him to do so.

Yesterday at the icnonic Times Square in New York, Rahul made a veiled attack at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said India's reputation as a country of peace and harmony is in danger abroad because of divisive forces at work at home and urged NRIs to stand up against those dividing the country.

Gandhi said everywhere he went  - from San Francisco, where he began his tour, to Los Angeles to Washington DC to New York – people asked him: 'What has happened to tolerance that had prevailed in India? What is going on in your country', the Hindustan Times reported. 

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