Rahul Gandhi was named the next president of the Congress on Monday. He will take over from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who was the longest-serving party president after having taken charge in 1998.

Returning Officer of the Election Commission M Ramachandran said, “89 nomination papers proposing the name of Rahul Gandhi for Congress president have been received”. The Congress scion will be handed his certificate of election on December 16, according to the Hindustan Times.

Gandhi was declared elected after the deadline to withdraw nominations ended. However, the elevation is only a formality as the Election Commission had already declared that Rahul Gandhi was the only candidate in the fray with a valid nomination for the Congress presidential election. He had filed his nomination papers for the post of party president on December 4.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mocked the Opposition party’s election process and criticised Rahul Gandhi’s impending elevation as the party’s president. Modi said Gandhi’s rule as party president would be like “Aurangzeb raj”. The rule of Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor, marked the slow decline of the empire.

Maharashtra Congress Secretary Shehzad Poonawalla had also questioned the election process and said it was rigged.

Elevation was expected

Rahul Gandhi’s elevation comes after months of speculation about him soon leading the party. On October 13, Sonia Gandhi had said he will take over the Congress soon. “You have been asking this for so many years, and it is now happening,” she had said.

On October 7, the Delhi unit of the All India Congress Committee had passed a resolution asking Rahul Gandhi to take over as president of the party. On October 1, Rajasthan Congress leader Sachin Pilot had said that Rahul Gandhi may take over as president soon after Diwali.

The Congress vice president had also indicated in September that he was ready to take on the responsibility. During his address at the University of California in Berkley on September 12, he had brushed off a remark about being a dynast, and said he was “absolutely ready” to take up an executive responsibility if the party asked him to do so.