Congress election pitch – will not formally announce Rahul as PM candidate

For the past many days, there was a feverish build-up going on for the date of 17th January, 2014; this is the date at which the Congress will have a large session. The expectation from this session was that because of the oncoming Lok Sabha elections (expected within the next few months), the Congress will finally declare their candidate for the post of Prime Minister. Given that there is only projected forthcoming leader of the party, and given that Manmohan Singh has already declared that he is not a candidate for the post of Prime Minister in the future, there can be no doubt in anybody’s mind that it is Rahul Gandhi who would be announced as the Prime Minister candidate of the party. Even otherwise, given the stranglehold of the Gandhi family on the Congress party, it would have been foolish to expect that somebody else could be appointed as the Prime Ministerial candidate. Somebody who is anywhere close to being seen as a capable candidate such as Chidambaram would be rejected because he might not remain under the control of the family, and loyalists such as Antony and Shinde are not capable enough. Rahul Gandhi has been the chief campaigner for the party for several elections now, and there have been a couple of successes that have been credited to him such as the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh last time.
However, overall, the success record of Rahul Gandhi remains low, including the recent elections in 4 states of North India, where the defeat of the Congress was catastrophic, even including the state of Chattisgarh where the Congress thought that they could do something.
Rahul Gandhi did extensive campaigning in these states, and one was sure that if there were Congress victories, they would have been credited to him. However, the extensive losses did finally bring home the point to the Congress that there was a lot of revulsion against the Congress, and there needs to be a change of image of the party. For this purpose, the Congress promised an overhaul of the party, and even surprisingly, got the Lokpal Bill passed in Parliament so as to claim credit for anti-corruption measures. And there was a feverish drum-roll going on with many different leaders of the Congress calling for Rahul Gandhi to be declared as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the party, so that there could be an effective combat against Narendra Modi, who seems to have pulled ahead for now in terms of his appeal.
So, it was expected that finally the Congress will announce Rahul Gandhi as the PM candidate and make this as a Modi vs. Rahul campaign (we will ignore the AAP for now); but for the last couple of days, the media reporting on this suddenly seemed to change. It now started to have complications – there is an expectation that the Congress will have a much lower number of seats this time, and if the Congress formally declares Rahul Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate, he will have to take the blame if the results are low number of seats. If he is not the formal candidate, then the party and various spokespersons will deflect the blame for a loss, and one can be sure that Manmohan Singh will be crucified by his own party, the Congress in order to ensure that nothing sticks to Rahul Gandhi. And hence it has now become clear that the Congress will not be declaring Rahul Gandhi as the official candidate, but will leave it to the elected MP’s to decide. And we all know about what this means – the elected representatives will finally leave the choice to the High Command, which means Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, and that means that if the Congress does win, it will be Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister.
Rahul Gandhi has been trying to portray himself as a young leader who wants change, but the problem is that the UPA 1&2 have now built up a huge reservoir of anti-Congress feeling, and those feelings will stick to Rahul Gandhi, even if he tries to maintain a distance between the UPA Government and himself. Even recently, his actions go against the beliefs that he has outlined recently. Scandals against Virbhadra Singh and Ashok Chavan (for the Adarsh scam) have been tried to be put to rest without action being taken, and numerous other such issues. One can be sure that his opponents will continue to ask him about any action that he took for the CWG, 2G and Coalgate scams. Further, even though the Congress continues to push its younger leaders, dynasties continue to reign supreme in the party (the new Congress leaders in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh all had fathers who were leaders in the Congress as well). He has to fight all these issues, which is not going to be easy.

1 comment to Congress election pitch – will not formally announce Rahul as PM candidate

  • Congress already knows that Rahul Gandhi doesn’t have capability to be a PM of the country and they don,t have any face which can compete with Naredra Modi’s towering persona. They are actually looking for the right candidate from within , but stll no luck. In fact, they don’t have right candidate who can infuse the trust into the hearts of public.

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