Rahul set to lead Congress
There has been a lot of speculation during the past few weeks as to when Rahul Gandhi will assume greater control of the Congress. The latest indication is that he will be entrusted with larger responsibility on November 19th, the birth anniversary of his grandmother, Indira Gandhi, arguably the greatest mass leader of the last century.
There has never been any doubt in the minds of any Congressman that Rahul will finally succeed his mother Sonia Gandhi as the head of the party at a time chosen for the transition by both of them. The opposition parties and critics of the Gandhi family will term it as continuation of dynastic politics but this is a foregone conclusion that after Sonia decides to withdraw herself, she will hand over the mantle to her son who is also seen as the heir to Indira Gandhi’s legacy by his party cadres.
The latest round of speculation has been fuelled by a comment made by Digvijai Singh that he would want Rahul to “take care of all of us”. This and party chief spokesman Janardhan Dwivedi’s observation that “Rahul has assumed a bigger role was no longer a matter of suspense” are indications of the impending change of guard at the top. To begin with Sonia Gandhi may either appoint him as the working president or allow him to preside over the party’s functioning even as a general secretary.
These developments could lead to large-scale changes in the party structure and many leaders holding positions of great importance may find themselves assigned roles other than what they have been performing. In strict political terms Sonia’s team will gradually make way for Rahul’s team and thereby necessitate the required changes.
Once Rahul formally starts discharging duties till now looked after by his mother, it is natural that there is bound to be speculation as to whether he will be a contender for the Prime Minister’s position. As things stand today, Manmohan Singh occupies the August office and it is unlikely that he will pave the way for Rahul to succeed him. However, in the event circumstances crop up forcing a change at the top, it is too premature to say as to who will be the head of the government. Some things in politics can never be predicted.
There is already speculation in political circles that the present government may not last its full term and therefore a mid term poll, probably next year could take place. If that happens, Rahul’s destiny will depend on how his party fares at the polls. Therefore to assume that things will follow naturally to lead to Rahul’s elevation as the Prime Minister is something, which is in the realm of conjectures. Thus no body can say with certainty as to what may happen.
Another aspect of Rahul’s greater role is that it will coincide with the diminishing role of his mother to lead to the conclusion of the transitition. Sonia Gandhi, who has shown excellent signs of recovery from her “unknown ailment” as most congresspersons put it, will also be keen that she passes on the baton to her son having already set a record of being the longest serving Congress president in her party’s 127 year old history. There is no doubt that Rahul is set for a bigger role. He will be judged by his actions in years to come.