CONVENTIONAL wisdom proclaims that there are two power centres in the Congress. 10 Janpath, where Sonia Gandhi lives and 24 Akbar Road, the party HQ. Now athird address is clearly emerging and that is 12 Tuglaq Lane .If you didn’t know, it is the bungalow allotted to Rahul Gandhi which has now become one of the most hyperactive political addresses in town. Not in the traditional sense, for you won’t find milling crowds outside or white Ambassadors speeding in and out. Rahul has been an MP for over four years and aAICC secretary for nearly nine months, but seldom does he go to the Akbar Road office; instead he chalks out strategies with the help of a close knit group from his Tuglaq Lane home- cum- office. In doing so, he is following in the footsteps of his father, uncle, grandmother and great grandfather, all of whom despite their wide appeal, in reality worked with close knit groups. Pandit Nehru had close friends in whom he confided and whose advice he valued, Indira Gandhi had her groupies who helped her fight the powerful party bosses in the Syndicate and in the many challenges she faced later; Sanjay preferred the company of streetfighters who believed might is right and rewarded many of them by bringing them to Parliament; Rajiv was surrounded by technocrats who were derisively – and wrongly as it turned out – referred to as the “computer boys”. Rajiv, appointed AICC secretary ayear after Sanjay’s death, chose to work out of 2A Motilal Nehru Marg assisted by the likes of Arun Singh, Vijay Dhar, Satish Sharma, though he paid the occasional visit to Akbar Road. Rahul is treading the same path. When he is not on his Discover India tours, Rahul, who like his father was appointed AICC Gen Sec early in his political career, is to be found mostly at his Tuglaq Lane address, his affairs strategised by Kanishka Singh, son of former foreign secretary and now Governor SK Singh, who was close to Indira Gandhi. Sonia Gandhi’s interactions are mostly with the Old Guard like general secretaries Motilal Vora, Digvijay Singh, Janardhan Dwivedi etc, but Rahul has cleverly put amember of his “Babalog team” under each senior so he is never out of the loop. Within party circles, they have come to be known as the Delhi Daredevils. In between his tours to the hinterland, Rahul is known to sit down with his A- team and check on the list of potential Congress candidates for the next elections that his aides are drawing up. Aclose Rahul aide informs me he has been really transformed after his visits to Dalit hamlets and partaking of food prepared in their humble kitchens. After eating out with friends at tony eateries in Delhi, when the bill arrives, he is known to wonder aloud how many mouths the money would have fed. All that’s missing are the doctors who can make the Congress win with their spin. Not to speak of the small matter of announcing its next prime ministerial candidate? It’s time Rahul threw his hat in the ring.