Dramatic changes are taking place in the Congress party, which heads the United Progressive Alliance government. Consider these two. ‘Crown Prince’ Rahul Gandhi made his maiden appearance before a top decision-making body of the Congress this week, while Defence Minister A.K. Antony is expected to be in control of the government next week, when the top two regular members of the government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, will be out of the country.
First on Rahul. In a significant act of political symbolism, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi attended his first ever Congress core committee meeting on Friday at the prime minister’s residence. The meet was deliberately skipped by his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. The development is further confirmation that the Amethi MP is on the verge of getting the top role in the party.
Antony, meanwhile, is expected to be in charge of things from next week, and will preside over emergency meetings when Singh and Mukherjee travel overseas. Singh would be away from India from September 21 to 27, when he will be in New York to attend the UN General Assembly meetings. Around the same time, Pranab Mukherjee will also be in the United States, attending World Bank related meetings in Washington.