This is provided Rahul Gandhi declines to withdraw his resignation.


New Delhi: Congress general secretary and former Union Minister Mukul Wasnik has emerged as the front runner for the party president’s position provided Rahul Gandhi continues to be adamant and declines to withdraw his resignation. Wasnik, who has represented both Buldhana and Ramtek in Maharashtra in Parliament, has in the past also been the president of two frontal organisations, the National Students’ Union of India as well as the Indian Youth Congress.

His name has been shortlisted among the probables, though leaders close to the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi are still attempting on her behest to persuade Rahul Gandhi to review his decision. Their strategy appears to be two-pronged. They are asking many of the senior functionaries to publicly declare that they were not in the race for presidentship. This is to prevent seniors from throwing their hat in the ring. In this context, there have been reports of both A.K. Antony and K.C. Venugopal voluntarily announcing that they were not keen to occupy the high office.

Followers of at least two former Chief Ministers, Sheila Dikshit and Prithviraj Chavan, have been lobbying to gather support for them. In Congress circles, there has been speculation also about Sushil Kumar Shinde being offered the coveted job, though he is reluctant to accept, having lost the recent Lok Sabha elections. Wasnik, who was merely 25 when he first entered Parliament, is a Dalit face and his choice assumes significance keeping in view the Assembly elections later this year in his home state, Maharashtra. For 59-year-old Wasnik, handling the organisational affairs is something he has been doing for more than 35 years and he understands the state politics of virtually every region.

Party veterans recall that in 1969, after splitting the Congress party, Indira Gandhi too had chosen Jagjiwan Ram, a leading Dalit, to head her faction, while opting for Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna as the general secretary. However, it is still not clear whether the Congress would go in for a single person to head it with a few working or vice presidents or make a committee of leaders to be in charge. The fast moving developments within the Congress have evinced keen interest in political circles.


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