Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took control of the Congress party after the certificate of election was handed over to him at the party headquarter at 24 Akbar Road in New Delhi. With this Sonia Gandhi’s 18 years of reign as the Congress president came to an end.
Speaking on the occasion, Sonia Gandhi said, “I am sure the party will scale new heights of glory.”
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that he hoped Rahul will be able to transform the Indian politics from ‘politics of fear’ to ‘politics of hope.’
He said, “Rahulji taking over as president when there are certain disturbing trends noticeable in politics. As a distinguished academic pointed out that there are dangers that politics of fear will teke over politics of hope, Rahul ji, we depend upon you to transform and sustain politics of hope.”
Rahul was elected as the new Congress president last week through an internal election. Speaking to reporters outside the parliament on Friday, Sonia Gandhi had said that she will now take retirement from politics. Her party had, however. quickly clarified that she will take retirement from the party’s president’s post and not from politics.
Rahul’s elevation to the party’s top post comes at a time when the Congress is engaged in one of its toughest electoral battles. Rahul led from the front and ran a remarkable campaign in Gujarat, where the election process was concluded on 14 December. The counting will take place on 18 December. Although every exit poll has given a comfortable victory to the BJP, Rahul’s party remains confident that it will finally be able to end the saffron party’s 22 years of rule in the western coastal state of India.
Although Rahul is formally elected to the post of Congress President today, he’s been leading the party for all practical purposes for last couple of years as his mother struggled with poor health.
Once deemed as a reluctant politician, who merely indulged in flash-in-the-pan politics, Rahul has had a spectacular turnaround in the recent past. His comments and what he said on social media evoked phenomenal reactions both from the neutrals and his political detractors. His tweets, often quirky and witty, gave grief to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who despite having ten times more followers on Twitter could not match the number of retweets Rahul’s posts often received.
Regardless of who wins Gujarat elections, Rahul faces a considerable challenge ahead as elections in Meghalaya and Karnataka are scheduled in next few months. Karnataka, incidentally, will be the only big state left with Congress government if Rahul’s party fails to wrest Gujarat from the BJP.