Wait and see, says Congress President Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi,JAYANT SRIRAM(TH): Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday remained non-committal about the possibility of her son Rahul Gandhi taking over as the party chief, telling reporters “you will come to know when it happens.”

Prominent Congress leaders want Rahul to become president of the party. File photo

Ms. Gandhi’s remark comes in the wake of statements made by senior Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath on Wednesday. Both argued that Mr. Gandhi should be elevated as president in order to avoid confusion over the party’s future direction. However, speaking in Parliament on Monday, party spokesperson Rajiv Gowda said the statements of both leaders were their “personal opinion.”

Mr. Nath had told television channels that there was no clarity within the Congress on who was actually in charge. He argued that the party should give full command to Mr. Gandhi and let him appoint his own team.

Mr. Singh also came out in favour of Mr. Gandhi in a television interview, saying some senior leaders could be influencing the Congress president against her son. Asked if Mr. Gandhi and his mother had any political differences, he pointed out that since they were from different generations, they had different ‘mindsets.’

The statements of both leaders seem to support the theory that Mr Gandhi’s mysterious ‘sabbatical’ has to do with the fact that he is unhappy at not being given the power to appoint his own people to key positions in the party. Speculation is also rife that an announcement regarding his future position in the party will be made at the upcoming All India Congress Committee special session which will be held during the recess period of the current budget session. All indications are that he will take over as party president.

Senior Congress leaders, however, continued to flat bat the question of a rift between the party leaders, claiming that the rank and file is happy with the ‘cohesive’ manner in which the party is being run.

“As far as Congressmen and the rank and file are concerned, we are extremely happy about the cohesive manner in which the Congress president and the vice-president are running the party,” Mr Gowda said. Asked about Mr. Gandhi’s possible elevation, Mr. Gowda simply echoed Ms Gandhi’s words: “we will see when it happens.”