Cong 2014 plan: Rahul to lead, Sonia ‘patron’

FP

In an apparent suggestion that Congress president Sonia Gandhi may reduce active involvement in organisational affairs ahead of the next general elections, the party said on Monday that Rahul Gandhi will "lead the UPA's campaign" in 2014, while Sonia will play the role of a "patron" and "supreme leader".

Asked about reported remarks by the Congress president's political secretary, Ahmed Patel, that Rahul will lead the campaign in 2014, party spokesperson P C Chacko confirmed the same, adding that the general secretary will take up an important responsibility in the party "very soon". Asked what role Sonia will play, Chacko said: "She is the president now. She will be the patron. She will be the supreme leader of the party."

To a question on whether Rahul would be projected as the prime ministerial candidate, he said that will be decided after the elections. As for PM Manmohan Singh, Chacko said, "This has no relation. The government will continue till 2014. He is the Prime Minister till 2014." Last month, Rahul was made head of the Congress election coordination committee for the 2014 polls.

The Congress also justified Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's statement complimenting the party for the appointment of Asif Ibrahim as Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief. Addressing an election meeting in Gujarat on Sunday, Shinde had said: "I am a Dalit and the Congress has made me a minister. Similarly, the Congress has made a person whose name is Ibrahim the chief of IB."

Chacko said: "It's the party which takes decisions that the government implements. (Sonia) Gandhi gives directions to the government. There is nothing wrong in complimenting her (for Ibrahim's appointment)."

Rahul will be in Gujarat on Tuesday, addressing three public meetings.

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