Rahul Gandhi arrives on centre-stage of Congress politics

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New Delhi, Sep 24 (UNI) The appointment of Rahul Gandhi, the fifth generation heir to the Nehru-Gandhi family, as AICC General Secretary and his induction into the high-powered Congress Working Committee, marks the arrival of the GenNext on the centre-stage of the grand old party.

The name of 37-year-old Rahul, had been doing the rounds for quite sometime and a few days back media reports said he would be the General Secretary of the party very soon.

Born on June 19, 1970, to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the current Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the Lok Sabha member from Amethi attended St Columba's School, New Delhi before entering the Doon School in the early 80s. He went to St Stephen's College for a year on the basis of his abilities as a competitive pistol shooter.

He was in Harvard University from 1990 to 1993 but did not complete a degree and was later transferred to Rollins College in Florida where he completed a BA in 1994.

Rahul worked as a financial consultant in London before returning to India in 2002 to start a software company. In 2004, he received an MPhil in Development Economics after attending Trinity College, Cambridge.

Politics seems to be ingrained in his blood obviously since he was born in a family that gave the country its three Prime Ministers-- Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

With such an impressive political background, Rahul started his political career in 2004 by winning the May 2004 Lok Sabha election from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

He was a prominent figure in the Congress campaign for the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, where the party won only 22 seats with 8.53 per cent votes.

With the UPA-Left nuclear standoff sparking speculation about the inevitability of a mid-term poll, the Congress obviously feels it would be a better idea to shore up the central organisation first. According to party sources, Rahul's formal entry at this point would be the perfect antidote for a ''besieged'' party, which has been under pressure from all its allies in the past few months.

There has been a sense, of late, that the organisation's political reflexes are not ''quick''enough. It has also been found wanting in shaping responses to topical issues.

With Rahul as incharge of the Youth Congress and NSUI, the frontal organisations of the Congress are expected to play a domineering role in shaping the future of the party and prepare it to boldly face the upcoming electoral battles.

UNI

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