The Gandhi scion signals his willingness to be on the front foot!
New Delhi: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi now appears to have made up his mind to play on the “front foot” on the political pitch. The way the Gandhi scion made aggressive efforts to unite the Opposition during the Parliament’s monsoon session against the Modi government is an indication of the same.
According to sources, the Congress is now discussing several key steps that might determine the future political course. One of the key steps under discussion is that Rahul Gandhi should now take reins of the party officially and in the capacity as party boss should continue to implement the aggressive strategy against the government. Efforts towards this end are understood to have been initiated. Strategists believe that this will help the party to create an atmosphere in the poll-bound states.
Secondly, the party is likely to take a call on whether or not to project AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as Congress’ face for Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Similarly, a decision is also likely on poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s entry in Congress. Rahul Gandhi has to take a call on these issues. If he defers decisions then it will impact the poll prospects of the party in the seven states where assembly elections will be held next year. Congress’ political future hinges on the outcome of these elections. Congress has a chance to perform well in states such as Uttarakhand, Himachal and Punjab.
Moreover, the grand old party may pose a challenge to BJP in states such as Goa, Gujarat and Manipur. The party is weak in UP where the SP and the BSP are averse to stitch up any alliance with it. So, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is the only hope for the Congress in UP. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra won’t be able to ensure Congress’ win in UP, but her projection could boost the morale of the party workers. Now, what is to be seen is whether Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will be willing to be the party’s face. Observers believe that she might be reluctant to be like that. So far, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been handling the party affairs in Uttar Pradesh from Delhi only. Moreover, she is in favour of striking an alliance with regional parties. She will be returning from the USA this week where she had gone to meet her daughter. Rahul Gandhi is expected to talk to her after she returns from abroad.
Now, another key issue is that of Kishor’s future. He has resigned as advisor to Punjab CM Amarinder Singh. Sources say that Kishor, in fact, is keen to join Congress so as to be seen on the national political arena to take on PM Modi. But it won’t be easy for Kishor to join Congress as a big faction is against him. However, Rahul Gandhi may take a call on this after consulting some leaders after the monsoon session.
Meanwhile, a big group of the party is said to be making efforts to ensure that Rahul Gandhi agrees to be Congress chief. Several state elections are going to take place ahead of Lok Sabha polls of 2024, but the party is without any regular president. Another thinking is that the party should have a core committee of senior leaders for taking quick political decisions. Strategists believe that the political situation in the country is volatile after the Bengal poll outcome and Covid-19 pandemic.
What the developments in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh have indicated is that the BJP high command is now flexible and accommodating the views of the state leaders as well. If BJP’s fort crumbles in its states which are going to polls next year, then it will not augur well for the saffron party for 2024 general elections. However, all depends on how the Gandhi family carries things forward. What is to be seen is whether the Gandhis play on the front foot or remain on the backfoot. Rahul Gandhi’s action during the monsoon session so far has indicated that the Gandhi scion is willing to be on the front foot. The real challenge for Rahul Gandhi is to first settle the internal party matters.