Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as the Congress party’s vice-president is welcome (“Congress prince crowned vice-president,” Jan.20). In a nation disgusted with corruption and insecurity, he is the only hope the party is left with. He epitomises the aspirations of the youth. Though many will say that he is a novice in the complex field of politics, he is by far the right choice to lead as he has the advantage of a political background. His enthusiasm to bring in new blood in order to cleanse the Congress’s Augean stables is laudable. Many wish him the best.
The Congress’s chintan shivir at Jaipur, with its primary focus on the forthcoming elections and Mr. Gandhi’s “elevation,” is on expected lines. From the national perspective, and with the increasing clout of regional parties and the weakening of the principal Opposition party, the BJP, it is essential that the Congress sincerely realises that it is losing ground. In the final analysis, it is secular and progressive forces that should unite in ideological battle against those who polarise and divide society.
As this is a “major breakthrough” for Rahul Gandhi to sit at the high table officially, the next step would be a ministerial berth. Then, the next stop is being glued to the prime minister’s post, with no chance being given to any outsider. What happened at Jaipur is just a continuation of the Nehru-Gandhi dynastic style of politics.
While Mr. Gandhi’s appointment may or may not be significant as far as the people are concerned, it has brought him to the threshold of the topmost post in the party and in the government. Whether he is able to arrest the decline of the Congress at the hustings and improve its fortunes in the coming State and parliamentary elections is another matter.
His elevation will not be useful to the nation if he confines himself to Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. He also needs to get rid of sycophants. On the pretext of bringing in youth power to the fore, he should not circumvent the intelligence, experience and knowledge of seasoned leaders within the party. He must also learn to be cautious and think before he talks. According to a Machiavellian theory, a leader must be both beloved and feared by his people.
Arulur N. Balasubramanian,
After much deliberation, the expected. What was all the drama about! Only a few weeks ago, a similar scene was enacted in Tamil Nadu where DMK chief M. Karunanidhi coyly named a son as his successor. These are examples not of demographic dividends but dynastic dividends for political families, proving once again that even after more than 60 years of the Republic, India remains a feudal nation. Democracy is only a facade.
Mr. Gandhi has to now demonstrate that he can work wonders. Charisma must translate into votes and corruption must be dealt with firmly. But time is running out.
Though he was patient, he has to prove himself. His understanding of economic affairs and debating skills are still to be known, which is surprising given that he is the descendant of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, eloquent orators in their own right.
The much hyped chintan shivir has only turned out to be a brainwashing session to deliberate upon and approve a structured agenda and to finally thrust leadership on an ever reluctant/un-enthused Rahul Gandhi at a time when the party and India are facing serious challenges from all quarters.
Will the young leader now be able to carry with him the disgruntled old guard, impatient Gen-next, ever-demanding allies and fight the General Election, all within 15 months, if not earlier? Will he be able to face a formidable and ambitious Narendra Modi?