Rahul Gandhi elected as Indian National Congress Party chief

New Delhi: Celebration outside Congress office in Delhi after official announcement of Rahul Gandhi as the Party President. Before that former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh referred to Rahul Gandhi a week back has been officially declared the party president.

Addressing a press conference, Mullappally Ramachandran, the chairman of the Congress central election authority, announced: “Rahul Gandhi has been elected Congress president unopposed.”

The party head Sonia Gandhi who van-guarded the party for 19 years will relinquish her position as the chief and pass on the reins to the 47-year-old heir apparent ceremoniously on December 16.

In all, over 90 sets of nominations were said to have been filed supporting Gandhi before the deadline expired at 3 pm on December 04. Had there been any contest, today (December 11) would have been the last date for withdrawal. Since there was no other nomination, Rahul was declared elected today.

Celebrations roses all over India after Rahul Gandhi elected as Chief of Congress party:

Sonia Gandhi will hand over the mantle of the 132-year-old party to her son around 11 AM after which Rahul Gandhi will meet leaders from across the country at the Congress headquarters, party sources say.

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Today, the party, which once controlled almost the entire country, has its governments in just five states and the Union Territory of Puducherry. Rahul Gandhi would, however, be handed over the certificate appointing him the party president on December 16 in the presence of Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders.

“Every post comes with a challenge. He has to rebuild the party at the grassroots and strengthen the ideological base. His undisputed election as party president is a sign of his strength. He will have to take everyone along from the AICC level right up to the states,” she told PTI.

Striking a balance between the old guard and the young leaders would be a key to running the organisation which has many seasoned politicians whose wisdom he could use as he steers the party.

Gandhi had said in the past that he would draw upon a blend of experience of the old and the energy of the young. “Initial signs are encouraging since he put veterans like Ashok Gehlot and Sushil Kumar Shinde in charge of elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh respectively and was willing to bank on them,” said a leader. He also got appointed young leaders as secretaries.

Rahul Gandhi will now become the sixth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to take charge of the Grand Old Party of India.

[with Inputs from PTI and Agencies]