Rahul Gandhi – Is the Congress confused or is it trying to sow confusion ?

Manmohan Singh has held the fort for the Congress Party for 9 years now, but he is getting onto 80 years old. Further, the reputation of personal honesty and of being the economist par excellence that he held has gone for a big toss – he is see as heading probably the most corrupt Government that India ever had at a time when there is a lot more anger against corruption and lack of development, and he is also seen as heading a Government that has decreased the growth rate in the economy from an excellent 8-9% to a level of 5%, that too where there is a lot of disillusionment and despair among important sections of the economy such as infrastructure and manufacturing.
For the past couple of years, it has been an accepted fact that in the next elections, the Congress will come under the natural leadership of the young dynamic leader, Rahul Gandhi, and he will be the one who will bring the party to a win in the next election. Of course, there can only be 2 alternatives – Either Rahul Gandhi takes over as the Prime Minister, or an arrangement similar to what his mother had made, where she had got Manmohan Singh to be the Prime Minister while she held political power (and there can be a substitute to Manmohan Singh – somebody who is faithful and has no political power of his own).
This was the script that was moving according to plan, where Rahul Gandhi would be announced as the leader of the Congress (although this was a formality since there cannot be any other leader in the dynastic party) and the party would then take the next election under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. However, recent actions of Rahul Gandhi must have led to confusion in the rank and file of the Congress even if senior leaders would have understood as to what was going on. As of now, there is no real clarity as to who will be the Prime Minister candidate of the Congress in the next election, whereas the BJP is moving towards formally announcing Narendra Modi as their next PM candidate. But:

– Right now the Congress is beset with problems. Its reputation is at a all time low, and it has had a bad record in recent elections to major states, hardly the way to get seats in Parliament. At such a point, Rahul may not want to taint his reputation as a loser and would let Manmohan Singh continue. If the Congress wins, he can easily anytime take over.
– By projecting Rahul Gandhi as the Congress PM candidate, it would be equivalent to a straight fight between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi (something that Modi would want, but the Congress really would not want). Right now Rahul comes across as a sincere dreamer, but who has no experience and no record to showcase.
– By announcing Rahul Gandhi as the candidate, will make Manmohan Singh even more of a lame duck than he currently is. His ministers will increase their tactic of ignoring what he says and trying to do things that will impress Rahul Gandhi, something that is sure to cause further problems to the economy.
As a result, the Congress is trying all kinds of tactics to confuse people – with different people saying different things, with the PM also stepping in to hint that he is fine and able to continue and it is not automatic that Rahul Gandhi will take over. Further, India is slowly changing and there is an increasing number of people who look at ability and track record, and not at dynastic credentials (and it is not only Rahul Gandhi, a number of parties work solely on dynastic basis such as the SP, the DMK, and so on ..). Would the Congress spring a wild card and bring Priyanka in ? (both she and her husband have been awfully quiet lately).

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