Diwali gift for Rahul Gandhi, may replace Sonia Gandhi as Congress chief

Pilot, on being asked whether Rahul's sister Priyanka Gandhi would find a greater role in the party in the near future, responded saying that it is up to her if she wants to play a more proactive role in politics.

Pilot's views have been shared by another Rahul aide, former south Mumbai MP, Milind Deora who was also part of the party delegation that accompanied the Congress president last month for his much-publicised visit to the United States.

Gandhi is scheduled to visit Amethi from October 4-6. "However, on October 5, Durga Puja/Dussehra and Muharram will culminate at several places".

While the Congress termed the Amethi district administration's move as "politically motivated" and under "pressure", the BJP found nothing wrong with the same.

These reviews coupled with unrest within the BJP over the Centre's inability to revive the Indian economy - as has been evident from the diatribes of BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Subramanian Swamy and RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy - provide a "suitable scenario" for Rahul's elevation, a senior Congress leader said.

Rahul Gandhi may take over as the Congress president shortly after Diwali, Rajasthan leader Sachin Pilot said yesterday, stressing that the time had come for the party vice president to lead from the front.

The administration was ready for his visit on the original dates as the Congress MP wanted to stick to his schedule, Kumar said.

Mr Singh added that the Yogi government was perhaps anxious that mr Gandhi's schedule might "eclipse" the proposed visit by BJP chief Amit Shah and Union ministers Smriti Irani and Nitin Gadkari to Amethi on October 10.

"After all, Rahul is visiting his own parliamentary constituency", he pointed out. We never said no (to his visit).

Taking a dig at Mr Gandhi, he said "missing" posters of the Congress leader had been put up in Amethi in the past.

Ms Irani had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Amethi against Mr Gandhi.

  • Jon Douglas