New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi on Monday was officially declared as Congress president. “Rahul Gandhi has been elected president of the Indian National Congress,” said M Ramachandran, senior Congress leader, loud and clear addressing the press on Monday. The party head Sonia Gandhi who van-guarded the party for 19 years will relinquish her position as the chief and pass on the reins to the 47-year-old heir apparent ceremoniously on December 16.
Sonia Gandhi will hand over the mantle of the 132-year-old party to her son around 11 AM after which Rahul Gandhi will meet leaders from across the country at the Congress headquarters, party sources say. Rahul Gandhi will now become the sixth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to take charge of the Grand Old Party of India.
However, Rahul inherits the Congress mantle at a time when the party is plumbing the depths of political fortunes. It has a miserable 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, its vote share having plummeted to a historic 19.5 per cent low in 2014.
In the past three years, the Congress has faced defeat or failed to make any impact in 15 Assembly elections, and in the process lost several of its strongholds such as Maharashtra, Haryana, Assam and Kerala. Currently, it is in power in just eight of India’s 29 states, retaining a mere 766 seats in the 4,120 Assembly constituencies across the country.
The outgoing Congress president Sonia Gandhi will continue to play an effective role and guide the destiny of the party, senior party leader M Veerappa Moily has said.