NEW DELHI – The heir of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, Rahul Gandhi, will be the next president of the Congress Party of India after being the only candidate nominated in the primaries of the party, the election authority announced Tuesday.
Mullappally Ramachandran, chairman of the Congress central election authority, said 89 nominations were presented, all of them naming Gandhi.
“There is now only one validly nominated candidate i.e. Shri Rahul Gandhi left in the fray for the Election of Congress President,” said Ramachandran.
The 47-year-old Rahul, who is the first child of Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi and who has been vice-president of the Congress since 2013, is to take over from his mother, who is the wife and daughter-in-law of former Indian leader Rajiv and Indira Gandhi, respectively.
Born in Turin in Italy on Dec. 9, 1946, Sonia has paid several visits to hospitals in recent months amid rumors of failing health.
In 1998, Antonia Maino, as she was known before marrying Rajiv Gandhi, accepted the presidency of the party, which has lost a large part of its electorate support in the last few years.
In 2004, the Congress Party formed a coalition government with several center-left parties, but Sonia refused to become prime minister, succumbing in part to the pressure from the opposition.
Since her entry into politics, Sonia has been one of the main targets of Hindu nationalists, who have always considered her a “foreigner” and are opposed to her occupying senior posts in the government.