Elevating Rahul Gandhi not good for Congress

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This might seem an anomaly, but don’t confuse it with a paradox: it is the Congress party which is most dubious about Rahul Gandhi’s debatable talents. That is why, for at least seven years now, it has been unable to anoint the heir into a monarch. Heaven knows it has tried. But each time, Congress leaders freeze on the edge of a decision, fearful that this irrevocable step will end in calamity.
The first offer to Rahul Gandhi was made, gracefully enough. The identity of this successor was never a mystery; in a dynasty an alternative can only rule as a caretaker till such time as the heir matures. But this only leads us to next quandary: what if heir never looks or sounds mature enough? 2009 was clearly too early. Is 2016 already too late? The uncertainty and unease within Congress is becoming viral.
The only hope is that some fortuitous political circumstance, like a regional electoral victory, will create the warm glow through which the party might be able to smuggle Rahul Gandhi on to the throne. This hope too has ancestry. Nearly five years ago, this rationale was manufactured amidst rising excitement, one of mind to face a television anchor, ever face the nation? Why, then, is Congress reluctance to make Rahul Gandhi party president an anomaly but not a paradox? The answer is logical: Congress has most to lose from failure. A sixth sense holds Congress back. So far, the party is only being battered because of Rahul Gandhi’s mistakes; it could disappear if Sonia Gandhi were not present as implicit, and occasionally explicit, check. Privately, Congress leaders fear that the party could split were Rahul Gandhi to be given total charge. They have evidence. It was not defeat that persuaded many regional leaders in the North East or Uttarakhand to leave Congress; were that the case they would have said goodbye in 2014. They were literally driven away by Rahul Gandhi’s inexplicable behaviour. Perhaps this is why; very recently, Bengal Congress forced newly elected MLAs to take an oath of allegiance to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi even before they took an oath upon the Constitution of India.
Those in Congress, who are frustrated about Rahul Gandhi but apprehensive about rejecting dynasty, use another roundabout.
They pick up the chant for Priyanka Gandhi at the first sign of depression. This thought is not restricted to outliers; well-paid and much-hyped consultants apparently think she would make a much better leader. Whether she does enter politics or not is up to her and the Congress leadership, but what cannot be missed is the consistent lack of confidence in Rahul Gandhi.
This will curtail chances of Congress revival in those regions where anti-incumbency is beginning to affect other political forces.
Five years ago Uttar Pradesh was meant to be the curve that launched Rahul Gandhi, possibly at ‘Jupiter velocity’, into the stratosphere.
If Congress had managed its current affairs better, UP in 2017 could have been another chance. But both statistical and anecdotal evidence suggest that the second opportunity has been squandered. Congress is swamped out of play.

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