Senior Cngress leader M Veerappa Moily today said that Sonia Gandhi's role in the party will remain "undiminished" even after Rahul Gandhi's elevation as party president and she will continue to guide it.
Moily said the Congress would take "aggressive and sustained steps" to ensure that Rahul Gandhi becomes the prime minister in 2019, asserting that "he has matured enough to take over not only the reins of the party but also of the government at the centre".
A change in the leadership will change everything in the party, he admitted but added that Rahul Gandhi will "consider both the wisdom and also the youthful vigour" of its leaders.
"We all wish that he will take over the reins of prime ministership in 2019. For that, whatever the steps... aggressive steps... sustained steps will have to be taken, they will be taken in the party," Moily said.
The former Union minister said Rahul Gandhi will not only be projected as the party's prime ministerial candidate in the next Lok Sabha elections, "he will be the prime minister in 2019".
Asked to share his thoughts on the "legacy" of Sonia Gandhi, who is set to relinquish the position of Congress president which she held for 19 years, Moily said, "Don't forget that she is a mother and she is a mother to the party also."
"Her role is undiminished and she will always be with the Congress and give guidance to all of us," he said.
Rahul Gandhi is already articulating a "politician's vision" and "people are looking forward with a lot of aspirations", the former chief minister of Karnataka said.
"He (Rahul) is quite grown all these years and (an) experienced parliamentarian. He has been very much trained, (is) quite a transparent leader and at the same time, very dynamic," Moily said.
The Congress leader said Rahul Gandhi's elevation was very much needed. "Right time he is taking over," he said.
"In the process of experience, he has matured enough to take over not only the reins of the party but also reins of the government at the Centre," the Congress leader said.
On how "dynamics" will change under Rahul Gandhi's leadership, Moily said, "Definitely. When there is a change in the leadership...down below, every thing will change. He will consider both the wisdom and also the youthful vigour of the party."
"There is no old and young guard. Every body is important in the party and he enjoys confidence among all the cadre, the old, or new and or middle," he said when asked about "what happens" to the old guard in the party once Rahul Gandhi takes over.
According to him, the immediate priority of the Congress is Gujarat elections. Under Rahul Gandhi's leadership, the Congress is doing very well in the poll-bound western state, he said.
"We are consolidating the party... all the caste combinations and everything have been successful now. I think the Congress's prospects are looking very well in Gujarat. That's the first thing to do," Moily said.
Rahul Gandhi, 47, looks set to take over the reins of the party from his mother on December 5, days ahead of the crucial Gujarat Assembly polls, with the Congress Working Committee (CWC) approving the schedule for the party president's election.
The CWC, the party's highest decision making body, met on Monday and approved the schedule for the much-awaited election to the top party post, which has been occupied by Sonia Gandhi for a record 19 years since 1998, when she replaced Sitaram Kesri.