New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi, who has been prepping for his promotion as Congress President, could take over from his mother Sonia Gandhi as the top boss of the party before the Gujarat assembly elections. The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's highest decision-making body, is meeting on Monday to decide on the timeline for the party president's election but this may just be a formality.
Mr Gandhi is expected to be elevated unopposed like his mother has been for the last 17 years.
The schedule for the next party president's election shall nevertheless be finalised by the party's 25-odd top leaders at the closed-door meeting of the CWC chaired by Mrs Gandhi at 10.30 am. It is expected to be one of the last CWC meetings that she would head.
The party has to complete the organisational elections before December 31, the extended deadline set by the Election Commission.
The party's central election authority has suggested letting aspirants apply from next week and keep December 1 as the last date for filing nominations. An election, if required, would be conducted on December 8, just a day before the first phase of polling for the Gujarat assembly elections.
"If only one nomination is filed, it will be announced on date of withdrawal of nominations that he is the president since there is no other nomination," Congress leader Janardhan Dwivedi told reporters on Saturday.
That means the Congress could, in all likelihood, have a new president by December 1 or thereabouts.
Mrs Gandhi had last month told news channel NDTV that son Rahul's elevation was going to happen soon.
Sonia Gandhi, 70, has served as the Congress chief since 1998 and is already the longest-serving president of the party. In recent years, she has been keeping unwell and scaled back her public engagements, pushing to the fore Rahul Gandhi. She has travelled more than once to the US for treatment.
Rahul Gandhi was elevated as the party's vice president in January 2013 and has since then, operated as the party's number 2. In November last year, the CWC had discussed Mr Gandhi's elevation and expressed their "unanimous and strong sentiments" for his promotion.