Rahul's renewed vigour
Rahul Gandhi is all set to take centre stage. A series of speculations on when the change would come about seems to have reached a positive conclusion as the Congress is scheduled to receive a new party chief in the coming week. Taking over the reins of the party from mother Sonia Gandhi, Rahul will now seal his position as the official chief of the Indian National Congress. Though the process of his elevation must undergo several steps, there isn't any doubt that Rahul will comfortably take the spot making him the fifth generational Nehru-Gandhi to rule the party. Mother Sonia Gandhi, who has held the position since 1998, is one of the longest-running chiefs the party has ever witnessed. She has been a popular matriarch, who has led with utmost dignity, never letting her calm demeanour fail even in the face of the most challenging situations. The UPA-I and UPA-II governments were run largely by the Congress' leading lady, who played a pivotal role in decision-making at the Centre. However, after almost two decades, it is now time that the Congress rejuvenates itself, bringing all fragments of the party together to make an impact on the Indian elections.
The Congress which had once been the pride of Indian politics that every other party would rattle to counter has now slipped to quite an abysmal spot where its dominance across the country is numbered, reflecting the disintegration that is slowly taking over. The elevation of Rahul Gandhi is expected to be processed before the crucial Gujarat elections, which is being viewed as a faceoff between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi—the first one before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Rahul becoming party chief will have several implications for the Congress and beyond. Many senior leaders have grown somewhat wary of their position within the party, worried that their voices would be numbed in front of the younger members of the party who's relevance is expected to grow in tandem with Rahul's appointment as party chief. This move is also expected to seal Rahul's position as the prospective candidate for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections where he will attempt to dethrone Narendra Modi who, for now, seems to be comfortably seated at the Centre with a strong clasp across most regions owing to the BJP's regional supremacy which has been gained after a series of state assembly elections where the lotus party has either emerged victorious or managed to secure a consolidated position with post-election partnerships with regional parties. Rahul Gandhi comes in at a very crucial juncture when the Congress is rejuvenating itself by hopefully positing at least a partial threat in the upcoming Gujarat elections, in Prime Minister Modi's own bastion.
Rahul must begin work as party president with renewed vigour and endless energy that has to be invested in increasing the Congress' influence across India. Though the BJP is losing some of its traditional support base owing to harassment that was caused by both demonetisation and GST, the public of India continues to be wary about the Congress' efficacy, which is often referred to as a dying party. Further, the rampant corruption that took place during the two UPA regimes still lingers fresh in public memory. Despite growing somewhat apathetic towards the BJP, India's citizens are still circumspect of Congress ruling the Centre—owing to a certain amount of mistrust that the public still harbours for Congress' leaders, who have let the party down with their several misdoings. Rahul Gandhi too across time hasn't evoked the most positive response from the public. However, that seems to be changing now, as Rahul has come up with a new zest and change in public demeanour during the Gujarat election campaigning.
Several have been surprised by this new Rahul which seems to be capable of tackling Modi's power and supremacy by making direct attacks at BJP's failed policymaking and politics based on communal divisions. Rahul as party chief must also look to elevate fellow young blood in the party who are often overshadowed by the voices of senior members who have cemented their position in the working committee of the Indian National Congress. Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia are some young faces whose relevance in the party must be increased as they carry the potential to become important leaders for the Congress in the coming days. While just a post, as president, Rahul will also have the most onerous task of carrying forth the looming legacy of the Congress party