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Updated: January 9, 2014 01:59 IST

It will be party post or LS seat, Rahul tells Congress leaders

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
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TALKS TOUGH: In this Dec 8, 2013 photo, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi addresses a press conference after the Assembly election results. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty
TALKS TOUGH: In this Dec 8, 2013 photo, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi addresses a press conference after the Assembly election results. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

The move has come at a time when the party is contemplating a major reshuffle both within the organisation and the government.

Senior Congress office-bearers and Ministers have been asked by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to specifically state whether they would like to contest the Lok Sabha elections or serve the party.

Party sources said Mr. Gandhi’s letter — which was delivered earlier this month — gave a clear indication that party leaders could either occupy organisational posts or contest elections.

The move has come at a time when the party is contemplating a major reshuffle both within the organisation and the government.

In 2009 too, the Congress had removed some senior leaders who were to contest elections from party posts. Jyotiraditya Scindia was relieved of his position of a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee. All-India Congress Committee general secretaries Kishore Chand Deo and Ajay Maken were also relieved of their posts.

This time, at least five AICC general secretaries are expected to contest the Lok Sabha elections — Digvijay Singh, who will be coming out of his 10-year ‘sanyas,’ Madhusudan Mistry, Mr. Maken, Shakeel Ahmed and Mukul Wasnik.

The difference between 2009 and now, according to party sources, is that many then were confident they would win easily. This time they fear a tough fight, to say the least. “The scramble would, therefore, be for party posts,” said a party source.

This is one reason why many within the party feel several senior leaders like the former Chief Ministers Sheila Dikshit and Ashok Gehlot are finding it difficult to be ‘rehabilitated’ in the party following the drubbing the Congress received in Delhi and Rajasthan. “Were the Congress not to return to power, there would be a large number of senior leaders who would need to be rehabilitated,” said a party source.

Moreover, the party understands that the position of general secretary in charge of States is something which requires a lot of hard work, meetings and travel. And that is why there is a clamour to bring in young blood.

Even otherwise, with Mr. Gandhi’s role increasing within the party, young leaders are being given key posts within the AICC, Pradesh Congress Committees and the government. The old guard is struggling to remain relevant. With the party expected to make some changes to its list of official spokespersons, it remains to be seen if it would retain East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit or make an exception for media in-charge Mr. Maken, since they are both Delhi-based and do not have to travel long distances to tend to their constituencies.

Some believe it is unlikely that Mr. Dikshit will be retained if his mother Sheila Dikshit were to be rehabilitated, because there has been no precedent of two leaders from the same family — barring the Gandhi family — simultaneously occupying positions in the government or the party.

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Why doesn't he come out and have an open debate in media like AK? He is ensconsed in his convenient ivory tower with his coterie of ministers. If he wants to be the PM, he should atleast let the people judge him by giving them a chance. He never has anything original to offer in any of his statements. No wonder people have lost interest in what he has got to say.

from:  Bharath
Posted on: Jan 9, 2014 at 13:49 IST

whatever u do, this time no way Congress can save itself from wiping out from the whole country... there is actually anti-congress tsunami going on in the country!!!

from:  animesh
Posted on: Jan 9, 2014 at 13:08 IST

So, will Mr. Gandhi remain VP of his party or will he contest the LS seat?

from:  Brijesh
Posted on: Jan 9, 2014 at 12:31 IST

That's the way to go about it. Focus and dedication to one cause. That's Rahul can be effective - he is decisive, knows what is required to be done.

from:  gautam
Posted on: Jan 9, 2014 at 11:32 IST
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