What Rahul Gandhi's elevation will mean to the deflated Congress

Javed M Ansari
Javed M AnsariJun 01, 2016 | 15:09

What Rahul Gandhi's elevation will mean to the deflated Congress

The Congress party appears to have finally decided to entrust its future to Rahul Gandhi. After months of, will he won't he, word coming out of the party is that he will be elevated as its president, shortly. The formal handover we are told will happen in a matter of weeks.

The decision to elevate Rahul Gandhi is hardly surprising. There will be those who might wonder with what wisdom the grand old party entrusted him with the responsibility.

Rahul's challenge will be to take some of the old guard with him, and make them feel part of the team.

However, be that as it may, this has been in the works ever since he was appointed the vice president of the Congress in Jaipur three years ago. Since then, he has been the president-in-waiting. He has been party to most of the key decisions of the Congress in the last three years, and now he will be the one taking them.

It will now fall to his lot to not only take decisions, but also be accountable for them.

His elevation may or not help turn things around for the Congress party, atleast in the short term.  The impact in the immediate term will be felt more within the party. For one, it will do away with the confusion among the party ranks on who calls the shots and the way forward.

While mother and son have worked in tandem, it's no secret that Rahul Gandhi has his own style of working and that he wants a largely new team to work with.

It's no secret that he favours internal elections, bringing in youngsters at all levels, entrusting the younger generation with decision-making; consequently, there might even be some heartburn amongst those who are left out.


Rahul's elevation will inevitably impact some of veterans in the party. Most of the leaders within the party appear to have resigned to the inevitability of Rahul Gandhi assuming charge as Congress president.

What is surprsing is that it has taken this long for it to happen.

The veterans' importance is likely to shrink, as the decision-making shifts to the new lot that Rahul Gandhi brings in.

His challenge will be to take some of the old guard with him, and make them feel part of the team.

The party is not exactly brimming with talent even amongst the youngsters, hence large-scale culling could prove to be counterproductive.

Rahul Gandhi will take over at a time when the party is fighting for its existence.

No incoming Congress president has ever come in under such difficult circumstances.

The party finds itself squeezed politically, it has governments in just six states - of which Karnataka is the only major one.

Put together, these states account for just about seven per cent of the country's population. The Congress hasn't won a single election on its own since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Sterner tests await the party next year with elections due in Punjab and UP.


In Punjab, it needs to stave off the challenge from AAP if it wants to regain power in the state, and in UP, a state that was once its pocket borough, the party has slipped to the number 4 spot.

Being out of power is not new to the party, but the morale in the party this time around is at an all-time low.

A huge chasm exists between the party's rank and file and its Delhi-based decision makers. Organisational elections have not been held in the party for years now, the last time an AICC session was held was three years ago.

The party constitution says there should a session every year and a plenary session once in three years. By all means, Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party have a mountain to climb.

Last updated: June 03, 2016 | 11:50
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