Congress scion Rahul Gandhi is all set to take over India’s oldest political party – even though the elections for party’s top post is two weeks away.
Monday morning at All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in New Delhi was a trademark Congress-style maneuver of ensuring that party remains in the orbit of Gandhi family. After all, Rahul is the lone contender for the post.
Monday’s proceedings have cast doubt over the party’s presidential elections scheduled on December 16. If there’s no other candidate, then Gandhi becomes Congress President without contest.
Needless to say, all the Congress stalwarts outdid each other in heaping praises on the 47-year-old Congress Vice-President.
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“Rahul ji has been the darling of the Congress…,” former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters after the nomination process.
He didn’t exhibit any irony while stating that Rahul’s mother Sonia Gandhi had presided over the party for last 19 years and the time had come for her son to fill her shoes.
Singh was not alone.
“If you ask me, I think he will make a very good Prime Minister,” echoed Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh.
Some of the Congress leaders took to Twitter.
#RahulGandhi ji is evolving as a young leader, who wants to base the party’s policies on the will of ppl. Under him as VP, Congress has been following the people’s agenda. He will emerge as truly a People’s Leader n a Man of the Masses in the times to come.#IndiaWithRahulGandhi
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) December 4, 2017
As Mr Rahul Gandhi files his nomination, I wish him the very best as Congress President. #IndiaWithRahulGandhi
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) December 4, 2017
Even Olympian Abhinav Bindra couldn’t hide his excitement.
Wishing @OfficeOfRG the best for his new role! A strong and meaningful opposition most necessary for a healthy democracy. Good luck.
— Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) December 4, 2017
On the face of it, there’s not much evidence of any procedural lapse in following the due process to elect the party president, but if democracy means rule of people it also means equality of opportunity for the people.
Not that the Gandhi’s elevation came up without any murmurs within the party but Monday’s proceedings seem to have sealed the fate of the in-party dissent.
Always a favorite of troll industry, Rahul’s submission ensured a busy day for Twitterati and meme-developers.
I just filed my nomination to open a can of beer from my own fridge. pic.twitter.com/DFz3vJhm7U
— Aisi Taisi Democracy (@AisiTaisiDemo) December 4, 2017
All the best to Rahul Gandhi for the Congress President election. I think he’ll win this one.
— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) December 4, 2017
— PhD in Bakchodi (@Atheist_Krishna) December 4, 2017
— Kirtish Bhatt (@Kirtishbhat) December 4, 2017
Lahore Congress, 1929. Motilal Nehru passed on Congress President post to son Jawaharlal. He had gently prodded Gandhi to choose his son over Patel in a letter in 1928.
Dynasty’s long march will continue with Rahul’s promotion, richly earned by his string of glittering failures
— Abhijit Majumder (@abhijitmajumder) December 4, 2017
For BJP, the almost-certain coronation of Rahul Gandhi as the Congress president perfectly summed up its projection of Congress as a “dynastic” party. Luckily, it has come at a time when BJP is finding it uneasy to maintain its grip on Gujarat ahead of the crucial assembly elections.
“I congratulate the Congress on their ‘Aurangzeb Raj.’ For us, the well-being of the people matters and 125 crore Indians are our high command,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an election rally in Gujarat.
Putting Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and Congress on the same pedestal achieves significance in a state known for its communal fault lines. At the same time, it gives enough fodder for BJP to feed its rhetoric of linking corruption, dynastic rule and hegemony of Gandhi family with the Congress.
As far as Congress is concerned, Rahul Gandhi will have to actively fight off the “dynastic” and “shehzada” jibe while campaigning for the polls.
There’s also another way to steer away from that criticism: withdraw his nomination before or on December 11. But that seems to be least possibility.