The supporters of senior Congress leader and old Gandhi family loyalist Kamal Nath are hoping that the nine-time Lok Sabha MP from Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh will be given a bigger role in the party under Rahul Gandhi. They are hopeful he would replace Motilal Vora as the treasurer.
Vora, who has held the post since 2001, when he replaced Ahmed Patel, turned 89 last month and even though he is very active, the Gandhi scion is expected to settle for a “younger” treasurer.
71-year-old Kamal Nath, who is known for his networking skills, has been with the Gandhi family through thick and thin and was Rahul’s uncle Sanjay Gandhi’s school-mate in Doon school.
Party sources said that a final name for the treasurer’s post is yet to be decided. “It will be taken by a very small group that will have, apart from Sonia and Rahul, two-three leaders close to the family. A section of senior leaders think that Milind Deora, who is young and shares a close rapport with Rahul, should be given the responsibility,” a senior party source said. Deora had played a significant role in Rahul’s recent visit to the United States.
However, another section of the party thinks that Deora is too young and inexperienced for the job that would require a lot of networking skills at high and influential places. “Milind cannot match Kamal Nath when it comes to networking. Kamal Nath is the longest-serving Member of Parliament and has been a Union minister and MP for 40-plus years. One can just imagine the kind of ‘pull and push’ that he can arrange,” a senior Madhya Pradesh based party leader said.
According to MP based Congress leaders, the appointment of Kamal Nath as the party treasurer will also solve the leadership “trouble” that has been brewing between the supporters of Kamal Nath and Guna MP and former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on who should be made the CM face to take on Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the Assembly elections that are scheduled for the end of the year.
The fact that the Congress is out of power in all but five states (Karnataka, Punjab, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Puducherry) has affected its resources and funding very heavily. Rahul, hence, may go for an experienced leader, sources said.
A crucial meeting of top party leaders is expected to take place after 26 January, when Kamal Nath returns from the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) meet.