AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi could play a major role in formulating strategy for Assembly elections in half a dozen states next year — including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat — given his mother Sonia Gandhi’s illness.
Mr Gandhi is already seen as the party’s number two. While he has so far confined himself to the Youth Congress, NSUI and UP, he also had a key role in formulating the power-sharing arrangement with the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir.
Rahul Gandhi has been the star Congress campaigner since 2007. Gujarat Cong-ress leaders hope he can change the agenda there before the election.
He will have to take a call on alliances and help select candidates in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Hima-chal Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat and Manipur. Except UP and perhaps Goa, the Congress is likely to contest on its own in most states.
Next year will be crucial politically as the half-dozen state elections are expected to set the tone for the Lok Sabha polls, due in 2014, and next year’s presidential election.
Insiders say Mr Gandhi, who has steadfastly refused to join the Union Cabinet since the UPA came to power in 2004, might be made a working president or vice-president of the party and a core committee member after Mrs Gandhi returns home. Asian Age