Rahul to take over as Cong Prez this year: Jairam Ramesh

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has sought to clear the air about the leadership issue within the Congress party. Claiming that Rahul Gandhi is more or less certain to take over as the chief of the party this year, Ramesh said that the young leader intends to build the outfit similar to the one that existed during Nehru’s era by promoting regional faces.
“I expect that it would be in 2015. We are expecting that he will take over, and we are expecting that he would take over in 2015,” the leader considered close to Rahul Gandhi told a news agency.
The former Union Minister in Congress led UPA-2 government is of view that Rahul Gandhi is aware that the party needs strong leaders at the state level. According to Ramesh, Rahul has a vision to build a robust party structure by creating a new ring of leadership at the state level.
“He recognises that we need state-level leadership. We need to create the Congress party that existed during the times of Jawaharlal Nehru, where we had a Kamaraj, Pratap Singh Kairon, Y B Chavan, B C Roy, G B Pant among others,” Ramesh said.
“We need regional-level leadership because we are not only fighting national elections, we are also fighting state elections. He (Rahul) does not believe in the culture of nominations; he believes in people emerging as leaders; he does not believe in para-trooping,” he added.
Ramesh also dismissed the reports about the old leaders not keen to have Rahul Gandhi taking over as the President of the Congress party for they feel more secured under the current dispensation.
“There is no old guard. There is no young guard. There is only one guard. There is only Congress guard”, Ramesh said as he tried to allay any apprehensions of any discord within the party.
The senior leader also opined that a political organisation must undergo a “process of renewal every 20 years”. With respect to his party, he said that the Congress party must project “younger faces from a broader spectrum of society…give them positions of prominence, give them positions of authority”.
Saying that the older generation in the party has experience, political wisdom and youngsters have enthusiasm and energy, he wished more youngsters had been part of previous Congress-led UPA government. Referring to the recent break taken by Rahul, the leader said the Congress Vice-President is now a “transformed figure”.
“He is aggressive; he has taken active role in Parliament. He has led Padayatras in different states on farmers’ issues. I am sure he will sustain this and it shows the fact that the period of introspection which he undertook enabled him to fully understand not only what is expected of him but also the challenges that he faced,” Ramesh said.