Congress 2014 plan: Rahul Gandhi to lead, Sonia Gandhi ‘patron’
In what appeared to be a suggestion that Congress president Sonia Gandhi may reduce active involvement in organisational affairs ahead of the next general elections, the party Monday said 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 whether Rahul would be projected as the prime ministerial candidate, he said that it 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 complimenting the party for the appointment of Asif Ibrahim as Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief. Addressing an election meeting in Gujarat Sunday, Shinde had said the Congress took care of the poor and minorities. "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," he had stated.
Asked about it, 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 Gandhi (for Ibrahim's appointment)."
Rahul will be in Gujarat on Tuesday, addressing three public meetings. Incidentally, even as the Congress waits for him to play an important role, he is putting in an appearance in the state only on the last day of campaigning for the first phase of polls, scheduled for December 13.