Rahul Gandhi was today formally elevated to the number 2 position in the Congress party after being appointed its vice president, but his role in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls would be decided later.
The anointment of the 42-year-old leader nine years after he entered politics was formalised at the meeting of the party's highest policy making body, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which unanimously adopted a resolution for this moved by Defence Minister A K Antony.
The decision ends prolonged speculation about a bigger role for Rahul, so far one of the 11 general secretaries of the Congress. The speculation focussed on the possibility of his being made Working President or Secretary General of the party.
It was clear that the party has stopped short of naming Rahul either as its face in the 2014 polls or as its Prime Ministerial candidate, obviously, giving itself time to see how the political scenario pans out in the run up to the polls.
Janardhan Dwivedi, chief spokesperson of the party, who made the much-awaited announcement, said as to what will be Rahul's role in the next election or whether he will lead the election campaign will be decided later.
“Any election or campaign related decisions will be taken at a later stage,” Dwivedi said after the CWC meeting held on the sidelines of the two-day Chintan Shivir (brainstorming conclave).
He said with his appointment as vice president of Congress on Saturday, Rahul Gandhi has been elevated to the “number two” position in the party.
“This decision will greatly strengthen the party and the hands of the Congress president. The Congress is a pan-India party which is the only unifying force that unites all sections.
"In Rahul Gandhi the party has its most effective and most accepted young leader reflecting the feelings of millions of Congress workers,” Dwivedi said.
Rahul becomes the third vice president of the party in its recent history -- the earlier ones being Arjun Singh under Rajiv Gandhi and Jitendra Prasada under Sitaram Kesri. Kamlapati Tripathi was the Working President during the tenure of Indira Gandhi.
The second term MP from Amethi is expected to make his address at the AICC session tomorrow which will begin with Sonia Gandhi's speech.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a number of senior ministers and leaders are expected to speak before the AICC adopts its 'Jaipur Declaration' covering political, economic and other issues.
Dwivedi said at the CWC meeting, Antony said he wanted to