Congress scion Rahul Gandhi was formally appointed the head of the Congress Election Coordination Committee for the Lok Sabha elections 2014; a clear indication of Gandhi being the face of the party in the crucial general elections. Gandhi will have three sub committees headed by senior Congress leader and Defence minister AK Antony and Digvijay Singh reporting to him. Gandhi’s growing stature within the party organization has been the subject of much speculation in the past few months, more so after he declined to join the government recently. The Coordination committee as well as the three sub- groups bear the clear stamp of Team Rahul. Several young guns like Jitendra Singh, Deepender Hooda and Jyotiraditya Scindia have found their way into these sub-committees.
This is possibly the first time that the Congress has put into place a Coordination committee which has Congress heavy weights like Ahmed Patel, Janardan Dwivedi along with known Rahul confidants like Digvijay Singh, Jairam Patel, Jairam Ramesh and Madhusudan Mistry as members with Rahul heading it.
Others who have also found place in these committees are former union ministers who resigned to work for the party like Mukul Wasnik and Ambika Soni.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi had announced at the recently held Samvaad Baithak at Surajkund, that she would be constituting an Election Coordination Committee and three Sub-Groups keeping in view the Lok Sabha elections to be held in 2014.
The pre-poll alliances sub group headed by AK Antony has Veerappa Moily, Mukul Wasnik, Suresh Pachauri, Jitendra Singh and Mohan Prakash as members.
The second sub group on Manifesto and government programmes sub- group has Finance minister P Chidambaram, Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Commerce minister Anand Sharma, External Affairs minister Salman Khhurshid, Sandeep Dikshit, Ajit Jogi, PL Punia, Renuka Chowdhury as members.
The Communications and Publicity sub Group, chaired by Digvijay Singh, has former I and B Minister Ambika Soni, her successor Manish Tewari, Deepender Hooda, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Rajiv Shukla and Bhakta Charan Das as members.
With the party already in ‘election mode’ both in Assembly elections in states like Gujarat followed by elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi; and then the 2014 elections the party will be heading into a Chintan Shivir in January next year where issue of alliances as also the strategy for the 2014 polls is expected to take a concrete shape.
Although most senior Congress leaders are of the opinion that the Rahul Gandhi does not need any official designation and is already the considered number 2 in the party; a reshuffle of the parry organization the AICC is likely within a week which could again throw up some surprises.